Friday, July 1, 2005

Gotta love the Lovett

Express Staff Writer

Lyle Lovett

Listen. It's easy to mock the guy's hair but it really doesn't mean a thing (or does it?). Four time Grammy winner, renowned singer songwriter, actor and all around enigma Lyle Lovett is one helluva singer songwriter and puts on gloriously tight and musically satisfying live shows.

Lovett returns to Ketchum 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 6, for the second of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts summer concerts, this time at River Run Lodge.

A native of Klein, Texas, Lovett attended Texas A&M in Austin, where he played many coffee houses, befriended other budding singer songwriters, and got himself noticed by idols Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Willis Alan Ramsey. Eventually, Lovett's demo tape was passed on to MCA Records in Nashville and by 1986 he'd been signed. No mean feat.

Since then Lyle has recorded and released seven more albums, including the seminal "Pontiac" in 1988. He went on to gain even more attention by winning his first Grammy for Best Male Vocalist for the 1989 album, "Lyle Lovett and His Large Band." He's won three more since.

The Large Band features a horn section and several backup singers—including Francine Reed, who spars with Lovett vocally and raises the bar on bluesy country balladeering.

It's hard to pick a favorite song, so prolific is Lovett. And then there are the lyrics. Just take a gander.

"I don't go for fancy cars

For diamond rings

Or movie stars

I go for penguins."

Say what? See, it's impossible to peg this guy. Is he serious?

"If Ford is to Chevrolet

What Dodge is to Chrysler

What Corn Flakes are to Post Toasties

What the clear blue sky is to the deep blue sea

What Hank Williams is to Neil Armstrong

Can you doubt we were made for each other?"

It's remarkable that one man, singing almost entirely original tunes, consistently wins awards and affects people with his talent, his aplomb, his weirdness and his cutting edge talent. Usually, when summoning up images of country music, people picture banjo and mandolin-twangin' good ole boys. Not that that's a bad thing, mind you.

Backed by the incredible group of musicians that is The Large Band, Lovett, however, proves himself to be a sophisticated and consummate musician.

And remember, maybe it's all in the hair, like Barbra Streisand's nose. Don't knock it.

Tickets for the show are available at 726-9491.

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