Nick Lowe's New Holiday Album

Joey Spehar recently interviewed Nick Lowe about his new Christmas album, Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family. “We wanted to make something that would work on more than one level, and not just do the same 12 tunes that everyone does, although we did do Silent Night, which is about as Christmas-y as it comes,” Nick says. The album features traditional songs, cover songs, and even a few originals by Lowe himself.

Lowe asked quite a few of his friends to help him pick some songs to play for the record. “When I agreed to have a go at doing this record, the first thing we knew, the most difficult thing we were going to face, was finding the material, so I contacted as many people as I could.” Lowe got a ton of suggestions, and he even made a few original songs for the record.

Doing a holiday album is actually rather taboo in the UK. “We have a sort of slang word in England, “naff”, which is a bit like “uncool”. Its not quite like “uncool”, it’s a little more subtle than that, but, yeah, its naff.” Even Lowe himself had a Scrooge-like reaction at first, but eventually he warmed up to the holiday album idea. “To attempt to do a whole Christmas album is quite different from doing a Christmas song. To do a Christmas album, it could stand a chance to breathe some new life to it at best, and at worst we could have a lot of fun doing it, and that certainly was the truth.”

Nick Lowe wrote a couple original songs for the album, although he didn’t originally intend to. “The first song I wrote is called “Christmas at the Airport”, and I thought that one up about two days after being given this project. I was sitting in Zurich Airport in Switzerland,” said Lowe. “We had stayed up quite late after the show, had a few drinks, and I had a bit of a hangover. I was sitting in the airport and my flight was delayed, and I suddenly had this idea about somebody that trying to make it home for Christmas.”He also wrote one song for the album with Ry Cooder. “He was very dismissive about it, which is quite typical. ‘Oh what are you wasting your time with that for?’ I said, ‘well, we’re having a good time here,’ and the next day he sent me these lyrics. I think it’s really come out well, that one.”

Nick said he was surprised at how well Silent Night turned out. “That one was sort of a half-hearted attempt, really. We didn’t really think it was going to work, but we started playing it and we got into this really fabulous little groove, this funny kind of London groove. We don’t know what it is, it’s like rock and roll meets ska, or something like that. That one really cheered us up.” Many of the songs on the album will cheer you up, and even the sadder songs are fresh and interesting. There are even a couple corny Christmas songs on the album. “Corny’s good at Christmastime, I think. But you want to make it sound as hip as you can.”

Quality Street is definitely hip, and as Joey says, it will make a great addition to your Christmas arsenal.