Not having his longtime songwriting partner Eric Lowen to “break the log jam” when he gets stuck writing a tunes these days, is perhaps the hardest adjustment for Dan Navarro. “I would get stuck and I’d turn to him and vice-versa. There was this unbelievable chemistry between us.”
That chemistry found in the creative acoustic duo Lowen & Navarro, resulted in 12 albums and a rich catalog of songs recorded by not only them, but also by a who's who of famous folks, including The Bangles, Jackson Browne, Dave Edmonds, Dionne Warwick, The Temptations and Pat Benatar.
Lowen was sidelined by ALS in 2009 and lost his life to the progressive disease early last year. Navarro soldiered on with the blessing of his late friend. "The decision to continue performing after Eric became too sick to go on the road, wasn't hard, but going out and doing it was bizarre," recalled Navarro. "The idea to keep going was very solid in my mind, but it really wasn't an easy adjustment. It’s hard when you have someone sitting next to you up on stage for years and years and then one night look over and they aren’t there. You have to sink or swim on your own."
Navarro has been swimming solo now for a while, but many of the songs Navarro wrote and performed with Lowen remain cornerstones of his current live shows, although they have had to be reinvented a bit to accommodate for a single voice where duel harmonies once were. Along with those classic tunes many new songs have been working into Navarro’s live concert set these days from his first solo studio album, "Shed My Skin.”
“It’s A different place now. It’s a different world. It’s been more of an evolutionary than revolutionary change,” said Navarro of making his first solo album so late in his career. “It’s been a very interesting and challenging experience.” Fans of the duo have rallied in support of Navarro’s CD and still flock to the shows as they always had done. For their outpouring of affection when Lowen died and for their continued support, Navarro is deeply grateful.
“I’ve been moving forward and it means so much that the fans are moving with me,” said Navarro, who aside from his musical career is a very successful voice actor. His voice has appeared in such films as "Happy Feet," "The Lorax," "Rio," and "Envy." Navarro also appeared on such TV shows as "American Dad," "Family Guy," and "Melrose Place" and countless commercials over the years.
“Eric and I had already gotten to a point in the last few years, where we were writing more separately than together as we did in the very beginning. So it’s certainly different, but I think because we had already started writing more individually, it’s not as drastic of a change as it might have been. When I started to make ‘Shed My Skin,’ I found myself in a new world, a new area of music that belongs to just me now instead of to us. It’s a process that is and will be ongoing.”
Fans coming to see Navarro for his return to Chicago Street Theatre for the ongoing “One Night Jam…” series will still hear the singer tell stories about his best friend and creative partner of many years, but there are new stories to be told as well.
“Eric and I were the first ones to play for Paul (Braun) when he started doing the concerts at Chicago Street Theatre and it became a tradition for us to return there (each season) and that has continued with me coming back,” said Navarro. “When I’m on that stage, Eric is also very much there. You can count on that.”
“Dan and ‘’One Night Jam have a long, happy history,” added promoter Braun. “Come along on the journey as we head with Dan into this new era, because every Dan Navarro performance at CST is truly a night to remember.”