L is for Lyle Lovett

I got to see Lyle perform live once, as the headliner at the 1998 Saratoga Folk Festival.


There are very few times that I remember the first time I really became aware of an artist: the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, Santana in the Woodstock film. Such is the case for a guy with funny hair.

I was watching the Today show, the NBC-TV morning show, in 1989. Back when it was only two hours – it’s now four – in the 8:30 a.m. half hour. Bryant Gumbel, the co-host introduces “country” singer Lyle Lovett, at which point he, his band, and background singers performed the first two songs off his third album Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, an instrumental called The Blues Walk, and Here I Am [LISTEN]. Afterward, a perplexed Gumbel said to Lovett, “THAT was country?”

I think the IMDB post on him got it more accurately: “His albums… incorporate elements of country, Western, folk, swing, jazz, bebop, blues, and gospel music.” Soon, I went out and bought that album, which also included the Tammy Wynette classic, Stand By Your Man [LISTEN to this live version], which was later used at the end of the movie The Crying Game.

Subsequently, I purchased his first two albums, the eponymous album, which features God Will [LISTEN – and turn up the volume], and Pontiac.

Clearly, my favorite song from the Joshua Judges Ruth album, appropriately, is Church [LISTEN]. I Love Everybody, which had his then-wife Julia Roberts singing background vocals, features Record Lady [LISTEN]; Lyle and Julia had met on the set of the movie The Player.

Probably my favorite album, though, is The Road to Ensenada, with Don’t Touch My Hat, That’s Right, You’re Not from Texas [LISTEN to this live version] and an old song recorded, by, among others, the Beach Boys, Long Tall Texan [LISTEN to this version, with Randy Newman, on David Letterman’s program].

He released a number of other albums. During a less-prolific period, due to no doubt to being “caught by a bull and rammed into a fence on his uncle’s farm in Klein, Texas” in 2002, he put out Smile, a compilation of his songs from various movie soundtracks. LISTEN to I’m a Soldier in the Army of the Lord from the Robert Duvall movie, The Apostle. In addition to proving the music, he has acted in a number of films as well.

I got to see Lyle perform live once, as the headliner at the 1998 Saratoga Folk Festival; here is a wonderful review.

Lyle Lovett is an eclectic guy; I LIKE that.

ABC Wednesday – Round 9

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