DIARY - 25 JANUARY 2010 - LYLE LOVETT CD REVIEWS
NATURAL FORCES (SONY-CURB)
LYLE LOVETT - NO CHEATING
loaded up in Buffalo, took 90-South down to Ohio/ on 8-West I'm Frisco
bound, and when I get there I'll turn back around/ so thank you ma'am
I must decline, for it's on my 18 wheel I ride/ out underneath the western
sky/ I'm subject to the natural forces, home is where my horse is."
- Natural Forces - Lyle Lovett.
actor Lyle Lovett has this thing about horses and cheating.
His steeds have been faithful companions since his self-titled debut disc
You may recall Which Way Does That Old Pony Run, Cowboy Man and
many others with an equine affinity.
They gallop back intro the entrée title track of his 14th album
on the eve of his Australian tour in March.
Lyle's character resists advances of a woman but sates his wanderlust
- "home is where my horse is."
Lovett declares war on cheaters in western swing driven Pantry
- written with his San Antonio girl April Kimble.
Kimble was the inspiration for previous song San Antonio Girl and
Cute As A Bug but not Fiona, Sonja, Fat Babies and The
He sets the pantry scene with a reference to the Light Crust Dough Boys,
once led by former Texas governor W L Pappy O'Daniel, and famed for their
Martha White flour anthem.
Pappy was featured in Coen Bros movie O Brother Where Art Thou -
T Bone Burnett produced the soundtrack.
Here the theme is the message to the woman of the house while her man
is out on the international road, maybe with his horse.
She is warned not to cheat with a diverse metaphoric range of delicacies
from corn bread, bean, bacon and collard greens - she has to keep it in
her pantry and await his return so her desire is full and undiluted.
Lovett enjoys his western swing double entendre so much he repeats it
in his finale - an acoustic cut of the same song.
His revamp of poultry parable Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel morphs
from a droll ditty about chicken choking to wry word play of the finale
- "the moral of this sorted tale is you just can't stop the U.S.
Ho, ho, ho.
Once again he proves no stereotypical writer - even if he only chances
his arm on five of 12 songs here.
just might die when make Colorado/ and the plains lay behind you, sweet
Texas behind you." - Empty Blue Shoes - Lyle Lovett.
shortage of love songs.
He exploits danger of a lover leaving - Texas for the dreams of Colorado
- in Empty Blue Shoes.
now 53 and a prolific actor, reaches back to flesh out the album as
a sequel of sorts to 1998 disc Step Inside This House where
he honoured Texas peers with their tunes.
So it's no surprise the journalism graduate covers Bayou Song,
penned by Don Sanders whom he interviewed for college magazine Battalion.
Lovett toasts other embryonic mentors with songs he learned when he
opened for them in his student days.
There's David Ball's Don't You Think I Feel It Too, Vince Bell's
Sun and Moon and Stars, Tommy Elske's Bohemia and late
Townes Van Zandt's classic Loretta.
revamps Whooping Crane - penned by Eric Taylor, a former singing
spouse of fellow Texan singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith.
Griffith is also making her debut Australian tour in March to promote
her 19th album The Loving Kind.
agents will abuse you, promoters want to use you/ so they can line their
pockets, with what's left down in you soul." - It's Rock And Roll
- Lyle Lovett-Robert Earl Keen.
original It's Rock And Roll - a vitriolic parody of the music industry
penned with Robert Earl Keen as A & M university student housemates
at College Station.
That song was unrecorded although Lovett pitched it for the Dewey Cox
movie and found the demo tape.
This is vintage Lovett making the most of unique vocals propelled front
and centre by his famed Large Band.
And it's country rooted with plentiful pedal steel, fiddle, mandolin and
sweet harmony by Keith Sewell.
Now back to those movies.
Well, Lovett had a recent cameo in The Open Road - a film by Michael
Meredith, son of former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Don Meredith.
"Michael wanted me to do a song with Charlie Sexton," Lovett
said. "They didn't use the song, but Michael gave me a scene and
I got to sit around and sing with Jeff Bridges."
And, of course, it's Bridges' movie Crazy Heart that scored a Golden
Globe award this month for Texan soundtrack producer T Bone Burnett and
singer songwriter Ryan Bingham.
Former rodeo rider Bingham and Burnett wrote The Weary Kind - it
won the best original song Globe.
Bridges also won a dramatic acting Globe for his portrayal of Bad Blake
- a composite based on the rise, fall and rebirth of Texan drinkers and
hell-raisers Billy Joe Shaver, George Jones and Kris Kristofferson.
But Burnett was alone on the L A podium last week to accept the song Globe.
Bingham apparently chose the wrong time for a bathroom break.
"Where's Ryan Bingham?" Burnett asked. "Maybe he's up in
the air." The George Clooney character in new movie Up In the
Air is also named Ryan Bingham.
Well, maybe this is fertile fodder for another Lovett song - especially
if Bridges wins an Oscar for his portrayal of Blake.
2003 CD REVIEW
LOVETT BUCKS TRUCKS
been to Paris/ I don't mean Texas /I met Wim Wenders /one time in London."
- The Truck Song - Lyle Lovett.
Lovett composed the soundtrack for 2000 Robert Altman movie Dr
T And The Women - saga of a philandering Dallas gynaecologist.
He has won four Grammies in a career that also features acting roles
in 10 movies.
He also fractured his right leg in 16 places in 2002 as he rescued
uncle Calvin Klein from a bull he bottle fed on the Texas farm that
has been in the family since 1848.
So it's understandable Lovett cancelled an Australian tour - because
of fears of flying into missiles of mass distraction.
It's not clear if Lyle was paranoid about friendly fire from fellow
Texan George Dubya Bush's battalions or religion soaked sooks frocked
up as terrorists.
a journalism graduate he was fully aware of the possible publicity of
being the highest profile Texan troubadour to be bumped off in a plane
since Buddy Holly and The Big Bopper in 1953.
But it's not much fun being a dead legend when the world is belatedly
awakening to the rich catalogue of his songs.
Lovett's 12th album My Baby Don't Tolerate (MCA-CURB) was released
by indie Sydney label Compass Brothers through Sony to puncture local
It should have - Lyle is a true country singer who owes more to Texas
swing than tin-pan alley country.
With a brief marriage to Georgian Julia Roberts and animated acting in
his slipstream he's media made.
Prada and Armani even send him clothes to wear onstage.
But he wears cowboy boots made in Austin by Lee Miller who took over from
Charlie Dunn who died at 95 in 1993 long after being eulogised in song
by Jerry Jeff Walker.
Lovett, an only child, sang in a Lutheran choir at nine and helps work
the family ranch on flat lands at Klein near Houston when he is not singing
Which means his music has far deeper roots than urban cowpokes - more
twists and turns than many of the Altman movies he has graced.
"A lot of these songs talk about where I'm from and how I sort of
define my place in the world - my home, as I see it," Lovett says.
"The song that is sort of central to that whole theme is The Truck
watched that Darwin walk in San Marcos/ then we went over and ate some
supper/ drove to Helotes, Flores Country Store is/ out Highway 16, we
heard old Robert Keen." - San Antonio Girl - Lyle Lovett.
vivid vehicular imagery of The Truck Song and San
Antonio Girl - both cut on his recent compilation - cloak a satiric
sting that underpins his best work.
Hell, he takes his San Antonio Girl to a concert by former
college house- mate Robert Earl Keen and rhymes B.F. Goodtire and
baling wire in his truck treatise.
It seems the former and entrée Cute As A Bug were inspired
by partner of six years, April Kimble, whom he met at Texas A &
M when he gave a lecture on ethics in journalism.
It was while studying journalism at College Station that Lovett also
wrote for university magazine Battalion.
into self-deprecatory humour in the title track and highway hedonism in
Nothing But A Good Ride, Wallisville Road and deceptively simplistic
On Saturday Night that he dedicates to a real family.
But the artistic peaks could be the relationship island In My Own Mind,
the sardonic Big Dog - parody of local Tomball speed cops.
There's also evocative You Were Always There inspired by his father
who died in 1999.
"You steal away/into a lonesome sound/another day is lowered in the
Mr Policeman, please don't take my stuff/ it cost me too much money and
it probably ain't enough/ to get me through election day."
Election Day - Blaze Foley.
The timely Election Day - penned by the late Blaze Foley who was
murdered by a man named January on February 3, 1989 - is a perfect segue
to the hot gospel finale I'm Going To Wait and I'm Going To
So the songs are deep and satisfying - what about the music and singing?
Well, Lovett has a voice and style peers would kill for - fellow Texan
Jon Randall sings harmony on five songs and mandolin ace Sam Bush three.
Lyle produced it with long time mate Billy Williams whom he met in Europe
and use an A-team augmented by Alison Krauss's bassist brother Viktor
who co-wrote You Were Always There.
This was one of the finest discs of 2003 and Lovett thanks his Houston
surgeons for enabling him to walk again.
Lyle's karma has long been good - he bought back the family farm long
before his career took off.
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