At 54, with nearly 38 years of touring and recording behind him, Nils Lofgren says he's "just trying to start over." The singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is doing that with "Sacred Weapon," his first solo studio album in four years and the latest release on his own Vision Music label.
"It's scary and exciting," says Lofgren, who joined Neil Young's band when he was 17 and began his recording career with his own group, Grin, in 1971. Lofgren is also a member of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and toured with Ringo Starr's inaugural All-Starr Band in 1989.
"I do make records to reach people, and the dream would be to get a giant company to love what I do and take it to the people -- which is totally not in the cards," he says. "So this is more out of necessity to keep my sanity and musical freedom than it is a pre-designed move to become more anonymous. That is not my ultimate goal."
"Sacred Weapon" features guest appearances by Willie Nelson, David Crosby and Graham Nash, and Martin Sexton. In keeping with the independent nature of the project, Lofgren is supporting it with his first-ever solo acoustic tour.
"I'm just grass-rootsing and betting on myself," says Lofgren, a Chicago native who now resides in Scottsdale, Ariz. "This is a way for me to come and sing and play and let people know, 'Hey, I have some new music I'm proud of,' kind of spread the word and try to build back up the markets I used to play all the time to a point where I can bring a band back again."
Lofgren says it's "absolutely random" that his Detroit show this weekend comes just a night after Springsteen plays at the DTE Energy Music Theatre with his new Seeger Sessions Band. But, Lofgren adds, "I'm pulling for Bruce. I was a fan of his before I joined the [E Street] Band, so whatever he needs to do, I'm totally behind it.
"But, of course, I think he's got one of the greatest bands, arguably as great a band as there's been in rock history, in the E Street Band, so of course as I member I'd like to see him use us again. I've been honored every time he has. There's no plans now, but, God willing, there'll be another chapter down the road."
Nils Lofgren performs Sunday at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (248) 544-3030 or visit
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