Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

LYLE LOVETT

RELEASE ME

2012-03-08

This 14 track collection marks the end of Lyle Lovett’s career spanning affiliation with Curb Records. As is typical with Lovett, he highlights the occasion with wit: the cover photo shows him tied up from head to toe. He leaves the joke there by giving the title track, which features a duet with kd lang, a straight forward reading filled with the ache of the classic Ray Price version. The balance of the disc is vintage Lovett at his eclectic best with aching ballads, "Understand You", "Dress of Laces" and "Night’s Lullaby", upbeat large band numbers, "Isn’t That So" and "White Freightliner Blues", a countrified remake of Chuck Berry’s "Brown Eyed Handsome Man", a rootsy instrumental, "Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom", a sarcastic put down of posers, "White Boy Lost In the Blues" and the risqué classic, "Keep It Clean". While well done, the two holiday tunes, "Baby It’s Cold Outside" and "The Girl with the Holiday Smile", will seem out of place at your summer BBQ where Lovett’s music naturally belongs. Even though his reliance on other songwriters for material to fill out this release (only two of the cuts are originals) deprives us of Lovett’s keen ability to craft the compelling tales that have gained him a rabid fan base, he demonstrates his skill as a first class interpreter with his delicious sense of phrasing which enables him to wrench every last bit of emotion out of the lyrics, a fact revealed most clearly when he abandons the safety net of the Large Band and strips the musical backdrop to only a couple of pieces as on "One Way Gal". The near absence of original material notwithstanding, this disc will give fans something solid to chew on while awaiting the next chapter of Lovett’s storied career. Smitty

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

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