Jez Lowe grew up in the coal mining village of Easington, England. He started to play guitar at the age of 10 and decided that his future was not in working in the dying local mines.
By the time Jez Lowe recorded his first album in 1980 he had already served a musical apprenticeship in the thriving traditional music scene around his native North East England. He had played in a variety of groups over several years usually in a partnership with Ged Foley. When Foley joined the Battlefield Band at the turn of the decade Lowe began an illustrious solo career signing with Cumbria based Fellside Records for the first of eight acclaimed albums.
As a “live” performer Lowe is one of the busiest people on the British acoustic music circuit has toured all over Europe and most successfully North America and Australia. As a recording artist he has consistently been Fellside’s “top seller.”
It is as a songwriter that Jez Lowe has found most acclaim. He also sings about the hardships of the English miners and their families. His songs of Northern England are among the most widely sung on the British scene and have been covered by artists as far away as California and Australia. Established acts such as the Black Family The McCalmans, The Dubliners, Gordon Bok, The Tannahill Weavers and Fairport Convention are singing Lowe compositions and his song Back in Durham Jail has been covered by no less than fourteen different artists. He has recently won a Performing Rights Society award as part of their Composer in Education Program and this in turn has led to him being appointed Composer in Residence in East Durham by the Easington District Arts Department.
In 1990 Jez Lowe began working with The Bad Pennies a quartet of singers and musicians with whom he has recorded three albums. They have gone on to be one of England’s top folk bands combining what has been called “acoustic simplicity with electric vitality” at festivals and concerts across Europe and North America. Their 1996 album Tenterhooks for the Green Linnet label has won them rave reviews and their contributions to the top selling album of a cappella folk songs Voices was one of the outstanding tracks.
Jez is joined in The Bad Pennies by Billy Surgeoner Simon Haworth and Judy Dinning. Billy Surgeoner plays fiddle keyboards whistle and vocals and joined The Bad Pennies in 1992.
He is based in North London where he is a session musician and recently toured with the Chalmondeleys one of the U. K.’ s leading modem dance groups. Joining the group in 1999 Simon Haworth plays bass and keyboards and is the newest member of the group. Judy Dinning sings and plays keyboards and percussion and is one o I Northeast England’s best know vocalists with several albums to her credit.
Jez Lowe continues to tour across Europe and the United States of America both solo and with the band and continues to write and involve himself in new projects.
Jez Lowe (198)
The Old Durham Road (Fellside FECD34 1983)
Galloways (Musica Pangea MP 16 1985)
Two a Roue with Jake Walton (1986)
Bad Penny (Fellside FECD7 1988)
Briefly On The Street (Fellside FECD79 1990)
Back Shift: A Collection Of Songs From 1980 To 1986 (Fellside FECD89 1992)
Bede Weeps (Fellside FECD94 1993)
Tenterhooks (Green Linnet GLCD 1161 1995)
The Parish Notices (Green Linnet GLCD 1192 1998)
Live At The Davy Lamp (2)
Honesty Box (Tantobie Records TTRCD 12 2002)
Tantobie Twinset – The Parish Notices + Honesty Box (2007)
Jack Common’s Anthem (2007)
Northern Echoes: Live on the Tyne (2008)
Heads Up: 18 Essential Jez Lowe Songs (2012)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.