Why are we here? The answer to that question lies in a journey that began about thirty years ago. I first met Bruce when I was working in a music store and he was a rookie, just starting out. He was as green as they come and I was a salty old veteran, having already been banging it out in the bars for fifteen years or so. He began to seek me out for equipment and advice, and his enthusiasm was infectious. He had a naive charm that drew you to him, like a big puppy dog. You wanted to scratch him behind his ears, and give him a biscuit. I helped him along as best as I could, and produced, arranged, performed-on and recorded some original songs of his. I finally got to see him perform at an outdoor package show I was stage managing. It was a dozen local bands and a national act headlining, so I got to see first-hand a lot of the local players and their effect on the audience. When Bruce came on I was in for a big surprise: With a pretty poor band behind him (and I’ve played in some pretty bad outfits myself while I was learning) he was captivating the crowd. He had something pretty rare, something I’ve been around a couple of times but didn’t have myself: Charisma. As I stood there watching, I started to think (oh-oh….): Charismatic front man, original songs, why not? There was still time to take a run at this thing. So the Rhythm Kings were born (kind of a breach birth in retrospect…) and we spent the next year playing saloons while I taught Bruce the craft of live performance, with one eye on the prospect of writing original tunes and getting a record deal. But life, as it often does, got in the way and Bruce left the group, not even realizing how close we were getting to being what I knew we could be. It was a several year set-back, but the band went on to get an indie-label deal, release three albums, two singles, get signed to an east-coast international agency, and get a licensing deal with a London based label. Just that close. But it didn’t happen, flamed out, and I was used up. The guitars went in the cases, the cases went in the closet, and twenty one years slipped away. I’d pick up a guitar once in a while, blow the dust off it, and there, right there, would be a song waiting to happen. I figured why bother getting all dressed up with no place to go? So I’d put the guitar down and wander off. I thought about Bruce from time to time, and I heard stories, wild stories. We maybe spoke twice in twenty five years. Until last summer, when the phone rang and it was Bruce, wondering if I’d like to get together and finish some songs he had started. I got to thinking (oh-oh…) why not? So we met, and there he was: Still like a big puppy who hasn’t grown into his feet yet, and bubbling over with enthusiasm and song ideas, the little brother I never wanted. It’s like we were never apart, and like before songs just fall out of us, only more mature songs based on twenty five more years of life. We’re just scratching the surface – there are a lot more songs patiently waiting their turn to come out, and I’d dearly love to close the show doing nothing else but writing songs with my pal Bruce. Why are we here? We’re here for the songs. Hopefully, you’ll find something in our tunes that belongs just to you.
– Don Lowe August 2013