Not everyone gets Lyle Lovett. He's quirky, quiet and shy. He's got courtly manners, and from all reports, is unfailingly polite. And there's that shock of wild, curly hair juxtaposed to his custom made Western suits and cowboy boots. The lanky Texan just doesn't look – or act – like a music superstar.
Then, he gets his guitar and steps up to the microphone. There's an “ah ha” moment and suddenly the sum of his parts add up to a whole other breed of cat. A very cool cat who has evolved from a bashful Texas A&M student to a musician with few peers. Yes, folks, you gotta Lovett when Lyle and his large band are in full swing.
Lovett released his 14th CD, “Natural Forces” late last month and has been on tour for the past three months. The CD is a bit darker and bleaker than 2007's “It's Not Big, It's Large,” but that doesn't mean it's not worth being in rotation on your sound system.
In addition to writing five tunes, Lovett covers work by Don Sanders (“Bayou Song”), Vince Taylor (“Whooping Crane”), David Ball (“Don't You Feel It, Too?”), Vince Bell (“Sun, Moon & Stars”), Tommy Elskes (“Bohemia”) and Townes Van Zandt (“Loretta”).
The CDs title cut is everything a Lovett tune should be – a swinging, wide open country song that is deceptively simple, with a strong underlying message.
“Farmer Brown” and “Keep It In the Pantry” have nothing to do with livestock or canned goods. Only a gentleman like Lovett could get these two tunes by the censors. Enough said.
Lovett and Robert Earl Keene, his college buddy, co-wrote “It's Rock and Roll,” when they were at Texas A&M. It's a tongue-in-cheek look at the life of a rock star dosed with a huge dollop of irony.
Vince Bell's “Sun, Moon and Stars” is a lonely lament of things lost, made more poignant by the story of Bell's near-fatal car crash that left his body shattered and his brain scrambled.
Lovett's cover of “Bohemia” is all jazzy smoothness that makes you want to wear black, snap your fingers and spend some time in a coffee house. Lovett's dry, sly wit lights up the song. It's Lovett at his best.
Lovett is a fan of the late Townes Van Zandt. He performed “Flying Shoes” at 1997 Van Zandt's funeral. He put five of Van Zandt's songs on his 1998 hit “Step Inside This House.” On this CD, Lovett includes a lovely arrangement of “Loretta,” one of Van Zandt's more upbeat tunes.Lovett winds up the “Natural Forces” tour at Ball Hall in Fort Worth Tuesday and Wednesday. If you don't have any plans, a trip to Cow Town to hear Lovett and his Large Band would be time well spent.
Great hall, good music and Lovett on the stage. Doesn't get much better than this.
For ticket information, visit: www.basshall.com.
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