Lyle Lovett Summer Tour

Lyle Lovett Summer Tour

Pretty much given up on keeping track of when and where I’ve seen Lyle Lovett. Cousin Brad bought the tickets, and, as it turned out, it was the last stop on the Lyle Lovett and his large band summer tour 2019.

Needless to say, it was a good show.

Lyle Lovett got a couple of hits, and the amusing backstory, “You’re not from Texas, but Texas wants you anyway?” That tune was supposedly directed towards his short-lived love affair and marriage to some movie star, Julia Roberts? I don’t know. Tabloid fodder, not my thing.

I did see Lyle Lovett perform one time when he was recovering from as broken leg — he was wrangling cattle on the family farm and a young bull squashed Lyle, and that was a true story. Our cowboy stars are real wranglers.

But Lyle Lovett’s music isn’t all county, or western, and what he does?

In another relationship song he’s got, it was a San Antonio girlfriend who is now, apparently a wife, the song is a mirror image of my own experiences with women from San Antonio, but my point was musically?

The University of North Texas, or as it was referred to at the time, “Denton” — wherein the University of Texas campus is inferred from the name, with the taxonomy of naming conventions aside, that school was legendary for its musical roots. Yes, Austin, yes, San Antonio but the Denton campus was (is) famous for its musical performance school.

Towards that end, I’m working at a loss here, but during a certain era, the North Texas (University) “jazz band” played a nightclub in Dallas, most Sunday nights, club’s name was “Popsicle Toes,” another musical allusion. Famous for improvisation and classics, in its time. Stellar shows. All before my time.

Lyle Lovett Summer Tour

Introduced from the stage, one of the back-up saxophone players was a (under) graduate of the North Texas Jazz band thing, and now a professor at the school. Just one of four horn players.

Early on, swinging into the tune, “San Antonio Girl (you make me crazy),” getting towards the end of the song, there was a musical refrain, and for a moment, transported across years, there were three-four bars, maybe just a few beats, that sounded just like Bob Wills and his Light Crust Texas Playboys.

As a socially awkward nerd, growing up, for me, Bob Wills and much later, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, brought that sound. That’s part of my formative years, my escape was then-called Western swing. If I was much younger, it would be “retro” or “ironic” in catalog. Interesting sidebar item here, it was Bob Wills who introduced the Hawaiian Pedal Steel Guitar to country and western music.

Lyle Lovett Summer Tour

The musical echo, I’ve got —someplace — an old CD with an older recording from Bob Wills, with a song about the Alamo. The rather accomplished horn section seamlessly wove that into the tapestry of the show.

Cousin Brad spends much time in Key West, hence a Jimmy Buffett connection. Buried in my archives, again, I’m not looking this one up, but there was show in Houston, the old arena where Jimmy Buffett was playing at the end of the last century — fin de siècle?
Jimmy Buffett played Lyle Lovett’s “If I had a boat,” as a Houston homage.

Lyle Lovett Summer Tour

Meandering into the Majestic — that’s the theatre’s name, not a Leo reference, I asked Cousin Brad about the audience, as there wasn’t a clear demographic. No discernible striations that would make for easy grouping.
“I’ll bet they all listen to NPR,” he suggested.

Good enough.

The opening riffs included a solo performance from each of the band members on stage, the Large Band. Four horns, drums, piano, gutters, bass, and so forth. The opening bit? That pedal steel brought some heavy grit and real gristle to the lap steel’s tone, while the electric guitar and acoustic guitar were far more melodic.

Demonstrated range.

Too bad this was the last stop on the tour, but anytime someone like Lyle Lovett is on tour, ticket prices are reasonable, and the show is well-worth it.

Yeah, the real problem? I don’t think any of the music will neatly fit into a single category. Western roots, mostly with boots, but horns and big band? Or folk, and while it was less evident in this last show, there’s always a ecclesial echo, owing, no doubt to deep East Texas Lutheran roots.

“We started this tour in Saskatoon; it’s just a little north of Amarillo,” and that was his opening, “but not much.” Closed in San Antonio. Great gig.

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