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Tim Lowman

RIYL

Low Volts, Blackout Party, Tape Deck Mountain, R.L. Burnside, Alvin Youngblood Hart

Influences

Eric Clapton, R.L. Burnside, Walter Trout
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Electro-blues band Low Volts is fronted by guitarist Tim Lowman, whose great-grandfather J. Warren Lowman (aka Doc Lowman) was a Missouri gospel singer who wrote a book about how he escaped the electric chair.

“By the time my senior year in high school came around,” Lowman says, “I was getting into a lot of trouble.” Born and raised in Los Angeles, he says his mother sent him to live with his dad in Boulder, Colorado. “That was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I ended up meeting a friend who eventually taught me to play ‘Iron Man,’ by Black Sabbath. I haven’t put the guitar down since.”

As for the origin of Low Volts, Lowman says “There was a point when my last band decided to go on hiatus and I had no one to play with. Eventually, I just started playing these heavy, dirty riffs by myself using a glass slide. I had a dusty old kick drum set up in the corner of my room, and I would keep time with that and just jam for hours. So, basically, Low Volts was born out of necessity.”

Lowman, who has also fronted Blackout Party, says “It’s just me, a kickdrum, an old guitar and a microphone. Kind of a cross between early Elvis and Evel Knievel.” Lowman also plays flute.

“Those riffs evolved into actual songs. I would record them just so I wouldn’t forget them. But instead of multitracking, I put one microphone in the room and recorded the kick drum, vocals, and guitar live to save time. On playback, it sounded like three or four musicians. No one believed it was just me playing everything all at once.”

Just don't call him a one-man band. “I actually loathe the term ‘one-man band’ because it brings to mind the weirdo in the town square with kazoos in his ears and cymbals between his knees. I think Low Volts is something you have to witness live to understand...there’s something about the crash-and-burn element that really makes it exciting for me and, in turn, the audience. When everything is mic’d properly, there’s nothing stopping me from playing tiny bars to arena-sized venues. I always tell the sound guy that the force of the kick drum needs to crack sternums.”

The band released Twist Shake Grind Break in May 2011. At the San Diego Music Awards that August, they took home trophies for Best New Artist and Best Blues Album. Lowman’s other band Blackout Party won the Best Americana award.

Early 2012 found Lowman playing a two week residency at the Continental Club in Austin Texas, followed by a weekly solo gig at downtown’s Hard Rock Hotel. A new Low Volts’ full-length was released in December 2012.

“On my debut record, the only overdubs were some chains and tambourines, which I have girls play at live shows.” In concert, he’s also sometimes accompanied by a pair of female dancers known as the Hi-Watts.

In early 2014, Low Volts recorded a song heard on the “Liege Lord” episode of the CW network’s TV show Reign. “I basically imagined what Low Volts would sound like 500 years ago and wrote it on instruments similar to that time in musical history — mandolins, hand drums, flute harmonies, and dark, mysterious vocal tracks. I had no idea what the scene would be before it aired. I had never even heard of the show before.”

Lowman says he was surprised by the action accompanying “Deep Within the Forest.” “The song was set to a scene in a Scottish brothel where, just as things are getting heated up, the door is busted open, someone gets brutally murdered by a wooden stake to the neck, and the entire place gets torched to the ground!”

Around 2016, Lowman moved to Nashville with his Blackout Party bandmate, singer/songwriter Brian Holwerda. Lowman, by then performing as Low Volts, although he eventually returned to San Diego, while Holwerda stayed in Tennessee. “I fell in love in Nashville on tour with Blackout Party,” says Lowman of his two years there. “At the time you could rent a two-bedroom house on ¾-acre in East Nashville for $650, and all your neighbors were musicians. It made so much sense to be where music ruled the town and people shared the same passion. Plus it’s a great hub for touring the south and east coast.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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