Fiddlers Crossing has presented a wide range of acoustically-based music in its nine years in downtown Tehachapi. From traditional folk styles to contemporary acoustic pop, Americana, country, acoustic blues, Celtic, bluegrass and, recently, jazz, soul and r & b with singer, Nicole Stromsoe, the venue has covered a lot of musical ground. One genre that has been well represented over the years is that of the contemporary “singer-songwriter”. There are many out there these days, each with their own particular point of view, style, and approach to the art of song. On Saturday, May 11, the venue will present one of the very best of the current crop of singer-songwriters, Dan Navarro.
Based in Los Angeles, Navarro began playing guitar and writing songs when he attended UCLA, starting in in 1969. After college he sought a career in the music business, achieving his first success when outlaw country singer Rusty Wier recorded his song “I think it’s Time (I learned How to Let Her Go)” in 1976. The following year, he landed a job as a singing waiter at a West Hollywood restaurant, leaving for a time to tour with Severin Browne. When he returned, he found that he had been replaced at the restaurant by fellow singer-songwriter, Eric Lowen. The two, eventually, became good friends and began writing and performing together.
After several years of performing locally without getting a record deal, Lowen and Navarro first gained recognition when Pat Benatar recorded their song, “We Belong” in 1984. The song was issued as a single and peaked at number five in the Billboard top one-hundred in January of 1985. After that, the duo had a string of songs in films, including “Police Academy 4”, “Casual Sex”, “Roxanne” and more. Lowen and Navarro were brought in as writers for the Bangles’ album, “Everything” in 1988, and co-wrote “Something to Believe in” along with David White and Michael Steele and “I’ll set you Free with White and Susanna Hoffs. Another song, “Everything I Wanted” eventually turned up on “The Bangles Greatest Hits” and went platinum in 1990. They also wrote for Dave Edmunds, Dionne Warwick. The Temptations and many more.
By the late 1980’s Lowen and Navarro were performing regularly around LA and were considered part of the “Nu-Folk” movement of the time. They ended up releasing twelve albums between 1990 and 2008. Tragically, Eric Lowen was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2004. The duo was able to continue to record and perform until 2009 when Lowen’s condition forced him to retire. He passed in 2012.
In addition to songwriting and performing, in 1988, Navarro began singing Spanish advertising jingles, which led to vocals in film and television, voice-overs for commercials and, later, character work in animated features and series. His singing and voice credits include Roxanne, The Emperor’s New Groove, Happy Feet, The Lorax, The Book of Life, Pirates of the Caribbean 5, Coco, Family Guy and American Dad. His songs have appeared in Deadpool 2, Pitch Perfect 2, Blue Valentine, One Tree Hill and The Office.
Dan Navarro has continued to record and tour solo in recent years. He released a solo album, “Shed My Skin”, in 2018, which reached Top ten at the NACC Folk chart in August of 2018. He also serves as National Recording Artists / Singers VP for SAG-AFTRA, and has served on the boards of Folk Alliance International, The Recording Academy’s LA Chapter, Levitt Pavilions LA and Pasadena, and as an Advisory Trustee to the ALS Association’s Golden West Chapter.
He thinks sleep is for babies and is a known abuser of acoustic guitars. “I love my job. It’s crazy but I love it”, says Navarro.