When Nils Lofgren released his first solo album in 1975, most fans were expecting a set confirming his guitar hero status, and more than a few listeners were vocally disappointed with the more laid-back and song-oriented disc Lofgren delivered. However, with the passage of time Nils Lofgren has come to be regarded as an overlooked classic, and with good reason -- Lofgren has rarely been in better form on record as a songwriter, vocalist, musician, and bandleader. While Lofgren doesn't lay down a firestorm of guitar on each selection (with his piano unexpectedly high in the mix), when he does solo he makes it count, and the rough but tasty chordings and bluesy accents that fill out the frameworks of the songs give the performances plenty of sinew. Just as importantly, this is as good a set of songs as Lofgren has assembled on one disc, consistently passionate and forceful, from the cocky "If I Say It, It's So" and "The Sun Hasn't Set on This Boy Yet" to the lovelorn "I Don't Want to Know" and "Back It Up," while "Keith Don't Go (Ode to the Glimmer Twins)" comes from the heart of a true fan and "Rock and Roll Crook" suggests Lofgren had already learned plenty about the music business by this time. The production on Nils Lofgren is simple but simpatico, giving all the players plenty of room to shine, and Lofgren's rhythm section (Wornell Jones on bass and Aynsley Dunbar on drums) fits the album's funky but heartfelt vibe perfectly. Lofgren has made harder rocking and flashier albums since his debut, but he rarely hit the pocket with the same élan as he did on Nils Lofgren, and it remains the most satisfying studio album of his career.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming