By Kristi Kates
Four Grammy Awards, one Large Band, 40 cities on the tour schedule, and one acclaimed all-American performer. The components that make up Texan Lyle Lovetts success are varied and many, but for the singer-songwriter himself, it all breaks down to the songs.
My songs can be just a stray thought thats a reaction to something going on, or a reflection of whats going on in my own life, Lovett says. My songs are about people, about trying to figure out what every day is like, what every day means.
But writing those songs is most definitely more than just a job, Lovett explains.
Its not something that ever seems like work, or that I have to do, he says.
The work part is left up to Lovetts PR people, who, he points out, sometimes have a difficult time figuring out how to promote the multi-faceted musician, who simply will not be pigeonholed, even within the genre of country music.
There is not a commercial design to exploring and playing the styles of music that I enjoy listening to, he says, In fact, it poses a very difficult marketing situation for the people youre in business with. But my enjoyment of being able to creatively move wherever I like to outweighs the difficulty.
Lovetts newest album, Natural Forces, brings together the most well-known elements of his songwriting skills, with an even balance between subtle balladry and the Western wit that Lovett has become identified with.
As mentioned above, all of Lovetts new songs - just as on previous releases - expand broadly on whats perhaps considered merely country music; the arrangements are sprinkled with everything from blues to jazz, gospel to Texas swing.
Standouts on Natural Forces include Lovetts pretty take on Whooping Crane, the interestingly-written Loretta, and the quirky original Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel. And Lovetts backing band can handle it all with aplomb - the musical collective that hes simply dubbed His Large Band has easily adapted its numbers and musical approaches over the years to suit whichever songs of Lovetts theyre performing.
HIS LARGE BAND
The idea for the band was a result of just trying to do justice to the recordings live, Lovett explains, one thing sort of leads to another, and all of a sudden youre standing in the middle of 18 people on stage.
Lovett alternates touring with His Large Band with acoustic shows, on which he often appears alongside musical compatriots such as John Hiatt, Joe Ely, and Guy Clark. Although hes yet to specify exactly which form his upcoming live show at Interlochen will take and how much of His Large Band will be there, the audience can be assured that theyll be treated to Lovett performing at his best - which for him, is every performance.
To be so focused for a month or two during a tour, to be that dedicated to one end, to be able to do the best show you can every day - thats really nice, Lovett says, I feel so fortunate that our live audience really has been whats supported me over these years. Thats really my focus, is to be able to go out and do a good show.
Lyle Lovett and His Large Band will be performing at Interlochens Kresge Auditorium on Monday, August 9 at 8 p.m.