Lyle Lovett & His Large Band
Saturday, September 3; 7:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe Opera (all-ages): Although Lyle Lovett's base has always been country music, including the influence of musicians like Guy Clark and the late Townes Van Zandt, his songwriting put him on pop and country charts alike. But both "pop" and "country" are too one-dimensional to describe Lovett. In the last two decades, Lovett has garnered a cult of Lyleophiles who feed on the genre lines he continually toes. Building on the careful lyric and melody found in Clark and Van Zandt's work, Lovett has developed a distinct, country-tinged blend of gospel, folk, blues, swing, bluegrass, jazz and pop. In the end, Lovett's success has everything to do with his literary talent and the voice he uses to deliver it. Seriously ladies, forget the huge bouffant he teased in the '80s. That voice and those songs could woo any woman. And we must be clear on one thing that is central to this cowboy's craft: Lyle Lovett is a weird man. His art is deeply invested in people's quirks and the irony of so-called normal life. Lovett is tongue-in-cheek even while singing earnestly; true Lyleophiles know there's always more than one layer to a Lovett song. His recent albums are less the odd ballads and more straight-ahead country. It's music that follows a history of smart songwriting, and although the sound is definitely country, the lyrics far surpass most of what's passing for country today. Lovett's latest album, My Baby Don't Tolerate, may tell the secret of his success: "I live in my own mind/Ain't nothing but a good time."