b. 14 July 1955, County Durham, England. Having played on the folk circuit, with various groups from 1973, Lowe also worked for a time with Ged Foley, who was later to join the House Band. In 1979, Lowe, performing mainly traditional songs, turned professional. His first release, in 1980, was on Fellside Records, and included three originals. He was supported on Jez Lowe by Jim Barnes (cittern/guitar) and Sylvia Barnes (whistle/vocals), both previously members of the Battlefield Band. From 1981 onwards Lowe pursued a largely solo career, but performed at festivals and concerts, both at home and in the USA and Europe with Jake Walton (hurdy gurdy). However, Lowe continued to record with Fellside, releasing The Old Durham Road (1983) and the highly acclaimed Galloways (1985), which contained the much covered composition ‘Old Bones’.
Subsequent releases contained more Lowe originals, and, following the release of 1988’s Bad Penny, he formed Jez Lowe And The Bad Pennies, taking on Bev Sanders (vocals, percussion, whistle) and Rob Kay (vocals, keyboards, melodeon, recorder, percussion). They recorded 1990’s Briefly On The Street, which contained the excellent ‘The Famous Working Man’ and ‘Davis And Golightly’. Tenterhooks (1995) and The Parish Notices (1998) were two further exceptional albums. Later members of the Bad Pennies have included Bob Surgeoner (bass, accordion, banjo, keyboards), Judy Dinning (vocals, keyboards, percussion), Simon Haworth (bass/keyboards), Sean Taylor (bass, percussion, vocals), Andrew May (accordion, piano, whistles) and Kate Bramley (fiddle/viola).
Lowe’s work in the new millennium has maintained this high standard. Of particular note was 2007’s Jack Common’s Anthem which featured contributions the singer made to the BBC radio series, The Radio Ballads. Lowe, who has had songs recorded by artists such as Gordon Bok and Mary Black among others, remains a highly regarded songwriter and a popular figure on the folk circuit.