When it came to my own musical tastes, for a number of years I drew a very solid distinction between the kinds of music I liked and the kinds I absolutely hated. I left very little room in between for music that I kind of liked but didn’t really love. One of the things that I always said was that I HATED country music. Unfortunately if you looked at my iPod right now, that statement wouldn’t hold water. In fact over the years, that line in the sand has become blurry; blown around by the winds of time, washed away by the crashing waves of maturity… and a few other corny sounding metaphors.
A more accurate statement is that I dislike most of what can be categorized as “modern” country. I still feel like the stuff they play on local country radio is mostly drivel. In fact, I keep my alarm clock tuned to it so that when it goes off in the morning, I want nothing more than to get up and turn it off just to make it stop! MAKE IT STOP!!!
But I love a lot of classic country as well as “alt. country” and americana – not to mention bluegrass and folk. But for the majority of my life there has been one man – one singer/songwriter – that has walked that line brilliantly. His studio albums make a considerable footprint in my CD collection and get plenty of iPod play-time. That man is Lyle Lovett.
And for the first time ever, I have tickets to see him live on Tuesday sharing a stage with another long-time favorite, John Hiatt.
I am a little bit excited.
Lyle is a master – a legend. He is the penultimate example of smooth, Texas gentleman country. And in the 80’s, he had epic hair AND Julia Roberts.
Dad introduced me to his music in my youth with clever, often funny, and musically masterful songs like “If I Had a Boat” and “She’s Hot to Go”. It’s tough to forget such easy to identify with lyrics like “she was ugly from the front” – isn’t it? And as much as I still love those songs, my tastes tend to lean more towards those hauntingly beautiful, dark, and melancholy tracks. I am not sure why, but those are the ones that really stick with me.
So since my voice doesn’t carry very well, especially in a place like the Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis, I thought that today I would use my blog as a platform to shout out my requests:
1. She’s Already Made Up Her Mind is one of those haunting songs. It is about that soul-crushing moment in a relationship that you realize that the relationship is over, but the coroner dwarf has not yet read the proclamation. It is such a personal and accessible feeling for many of us that no matter how many times I listen to it, my heart breaks a little each & every time.
2. L.A. County is a dark and brilliantly written story song. It has one of those driving rhythms that starts off kind of slow but builds slowly, like the story itself, to a dramatic climax that you never really see coming.
3. If I Were the Man You Wanted is another heart-breaker from Lovett’s eponymous debut album. It was actually recorded by (the awesome) Nanci Griffith before he released his own version. “if I were the man she wanted, I would not be the man that I am”
4. (Please ignore the cheesy video – it’s the best I could find unfortunately.) Private Conversation seems to be about regret, or getting over those relationships above and moving on with your life. I’m not sure, but I love it. My favorite song from the Road To Ensenada album is a close race between this one and “I Can’t Love You Anymore”.
5. Lyle Lovett is an amazing songwriter, so I will be perfectly satisfied if he only plays his own songs – but if he decides to play one cover, if there is a God in Heaven, it will be one written by Townes Van Zandt, like the unbelievably beautiful If I Needed You.