Here's the Lowe-down:
He's one of the most respected producers in the music business and has worked with everyone from Elvis Costello to The Fabulous Thunderbirds.
His new album, Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit, is being heralded as his best in three years.
He wrote and recorded the pop classic, "Cruel To Be kind."
Yet, Nick Lowe — England's Prince of Pop and one of new wave's founding fathers, can't get back on the radio.
"But considering the kind of music I do, which is a little left of field, I get a pretty easy ride, really," Lowe said during an interview at the London Victory Club, where he and his three-man band played recently.
"I thought that I was going to get elbowed by Columbia (Records) because they were firing so many people who had done much better than I had. To my amazement, they decided not to. I enjoy a kind of 'tolerance' over here."
And rightly so. After two impressive but inconsistent grab-bag pop albums, Lowe says the label has told him to "get rockin' again."
The result is Nick Lowe and His Cowboy Outfit, named after his band, featuring ex-Rumour guitarist Martin Belmont, drummer Bobby Irwin and former Squeeze keyboardist Paul Carrack.
The band name comes from a building industry term referring to a company that uses cheap materials "and really aren't very good, and slightly outside the law as well," he said. "I thought it'd be a good name."
With songs like "(God's Gift to Women," "(Hey Big Mouth) Stand Up and Say That" and covers of Dusty Springfield's "Breakaway" and Ferron Young's "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," this album leans toward the country-rock stylings perfected by Lowe's former band, Rockpile.
And by concentrating on three-chord rockers like "Maureen" and "Raging Eyes," Lowe and the band won over a small crowd at the London Victory Club Thursday night, tuning up for its stint as opening act for Elvis Costello (which included a Sunday night stop in Orlando). Highlights both nights were Dusty Springfield's "Little by Little" and an extended, reggae-fueled version of Carrack's "How Long" (a hit for his first band, Ace).
Tampa fans got an extra treat Thursday, as Lowe and Carrack played six additional "club" songs — including such classics as "Heart of the City" and new, unrecorded numbers like "Tip of My Tongue," "Rose of England" and "Impressions, a moody rocker Carrack and Lowe co-wrote with Chris Difford.
Despite his theory that having his name listed as producer on other artist's albums is a kiss of death ("They never bloody sell"), Lowe will produce the debut LP by a MilWaukee band called The Rhythm and Blues Cadets and then team with ex-Who guitarist Pete Townshend.
"It's the worst-kept secret in the business," he said "He (Townshend) wanted to do an album with The Fabulous Thunderbirds because he really liked the album I did with them. All we're doing now is waiting to see if he still Wants to do it."
Meanwhile, he continues his five-year search for his second American hit. "In England, I seem to have become an old man of the mountain that they consult when a new thing comes out, like I'm a sort of oracle or something."
So, what does the Wise One think of the latest trend toward emphasis on video music?
"Most rock videos are pretty ghastly, because a number of groups have seen a couple of French films and suddenly reckon they're bloody experts," he said. "If I see another video with light coming through a Venetian blind or a newspaper blowing up a darkened street, I'll go around the twist."