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Lyle Lovett - Natural Forces

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I know that Christian and perhaps a few others here are Lovett fans, so perhaps it's time for a thread devoted to his new recording, which releases on Lost Highway next week. It's split between originals and covers, and apparently it's a much smaller-scale and intimate affair than his last Large Band outing. The BBC has an early review that calls it his best in years.

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Lovett fan here!

That said, I'm a casual one, and I'm looking to pick up a few more of his albums. Maybe I can start here.

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That's funny, Jason. I've felt tapped out on Lovett for some time now. I see his CDs on my shelf here at home, but just can't bring myself to listen to them. His music is great -- but I just ... I don't know. I need my interest to be rekindled, I guess. I've argued elsewhere that Lovett ought to do a gospel album, but so far, he's failed to heed my advice.

Thanks for posting about the upcoming release, Josh.

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I really enjoyed the It's Not Big, It's Large album from a few years back. Not a gospel album by any stretch, but a very spirited outing, I think.

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If you're at all a Lyle Lovett fan, you're probably going to really enjoy this one. It's not a departure by any means, but rather something that sounds like quintessential Lovett. Half the songs are originals, and they're generally very upbeat and slyly funny. The rest are covers, most of them lesser-known, and they're all winners. Musically, it's a smaller-scale album than the last one, very country-oriented and based in small-group performances. As the BBC reviewer notes, the interplay between the musicians, particularly fiddle and steel guitar, is remarkable. All said, it's one of his best albums ever.

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It's on sale at amazonmp3. $3.99 for another day or two.

I was really surprised at how much I disliked this album. Some of the songs are great, but some of them hurt my ears. I particularly dislike that song about choking his chicken. Although, I've only ever been a casual Lovett fan, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

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It was a 3.99 download yesterday. I got it and gave it a quick listen. I Like what I heard. I'm looking forward to a more detailed listen.

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I've felt tapped out on Lovett for some time now. I need my interest to be rekindled, I guess.

What better way to rekindle my interest in Lovett than to, ya know, listen to his music? That's what I'm doing right now, listening to his Live in Texas CD from the library. I don't believe I've heard this one before, although I've heard all the songs off the studio albums. In any event, it sounds ... fresh, and "new" in a sense.

Maybe I'll pick up Natural Forces after all.

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Fwiw, my review.

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I've posted elsewhere on this board that I think Natural Forces is a fine, if unessential, Lovett CD, but I wanted to highlight one of the song choices that really grabbed me. Lovett covers Sun and Moon and Stars on this CD. Maybe that title doesn't mean anything to you. It didn't to me, either, until I heard the song and realized, "Hey, I LOVE this song!"

I first heard it in college, on a Nanci Griffith CD -- the only one of hers I ever bought. It was supposed to be her breakout album, more commercial than her previous work. I didn't know of her work at the time (early 1990s, IIRC) and, thinking of her as a singer/songwriter, hadn't realized until now that this song is not Griffith's, but was written by Vince Bell.

The trouble with song interpretations is that, once you've responded to one interpretation, it becomes the standard against which other interpretations are measured. Lovett's take on the tune is quite good, but it doesn't stir me the way Griffith's verion did.

I heard at the time I owned that Griffith CD that it was "overproduced," and maybe that was/is true. But if memory serves, Sun and Moon and Stars was the best song on that CD. It's one of the best on Lovett's CD, too.

Edited by Christian

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Posted · Report post

I've posted elsewhere on this board that I think Natural Forces is a fine, if unessential, Lovett CD, but I wanted to highlight one of the song choices that really grabbed me. Lovett covers Sun and Moon and Stars on this CD. Maybe that title doesn't mean anything to you. It didn't to me, either, until I heard the song and realized, "Hey, I LOVE this song!"

I first heard it in college, on a Nanci Griffith CD -- the only one of hers I ever bought. It was supposed to be her breakout album, more commercial than her previous work. I didn't know of her work at the time (early 1990s, IIRC) and, thinking of her as a singer/songwriter, hadn't realized until now that this song is not Griffith's, but was written by Vince Bell.

The trouble with song interpretations is that, once you've responded to one interpretation, it becomes the standard against which other interpretations are measured. Lovett's take on the tune is quite good, but it doesn't stir me the way Griffith's verion did.

I heard at the time I owned that Griffith CD that it was "overproduced," and maybe that was/is true. But if memory serves, Sun and Moon and Stars was the best song on that CD. It's one of the best on Lovett's CD, too.

The original version of that great song is well worth tracking down, too. It's on Vince Bell's 1994 album Phoenix. That whole album is mindblowing, by the way. Bell "died" in a car wreck in 1982. Really. But he was resuscitated to a living hell. It took him six years to learn how to walk again, and about the same amount of time to pick out a rudimentary tune on the guitar. So Phoenix is more than a little apropos, and it has nothing to do with Arizona. It's an album full of desperate, angry, and, finally, hopeful songs; it's really a beautiful thing.

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So I'm going to see the man himself tomorrow night a Wolf Trap.

Weather forecast: Mostly Clear

Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast winds around 5 mph...becoming south...

Should be a lovely evening.

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Josh, Andy, Thom: Any of you had a chance to listen to Release Me? Amazon just told me that I "might like to know" about this Feb. 28 release. Its product description:

Four-time Grammy award winner Lyle Lovett returns with his new album, Release Me. The album highlights Lovett's signature mix of country, jazz, pop and vintage Americana and includes performances from k.d. lang, Kat Edmonson and Sara & Sean Watkins. Along with multiple self-penned originals, Release Me also features Lyle's take on classic songs such as: "Release Me", "White Freightliner", "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" and the new single, "Isn't That So"

Edited by Christian

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Christian, I got a copy of Release Me yesterday. Too early to say just how good I think it is, but I feel confident saying that if you've ever liked a Lovett album, you'll probably enjoy this one. The material may seem, at first, to be a bit of a hodgepodge-- there are covers, originals, holiday songs, folk numbers, honky tonkers, blues, etc.-- but there's a loose quality to it that appeals to me more than the lovely (if a bit too muted) Natural Forces. Lotta good stuff here, it seems to me, and it paints a pretty clear picture of everything Lovett is good at.

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I think Erlewine is right on the money, as far as Release Me goes.

There are a handful of slower, contemplative moments, but Release Me is an unquestioned celebration where the blues are the soundtrack for a good time and Chuck Berry's "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" is slowed down to a knowing, soulful crawl. There's an ease to Release Me that's utterly charming -- Lovett is relaxing into the songs and sounds he loves, and he hasn't sounded like so much fun in years.

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Still wish he'd make a gospel album. Mollie Hemingway just tweeted that Lovett does a version of Martin Luther's "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word," one of her favorite hymns, on the new album.

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Still wish he'd make a gospel album. Mollie Hemingway just tweeted that Lovett does a version of Martin Luther's "Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word," one of her favorite hymns, on the new album.

Yeah, it's the closing song-- solemn, sincere, and very lovely.

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