A singer, composer, and actor, Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans fourteen albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel, and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Lovett has appeared in thirteen feature films as well as on stage and television. Among his many accolades, besides the four Grammy Awards, he was given the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award and was recently named the Texas State Musician.
Garden & Gun magazine recently called Lovett “one of America’s most beloved singer-songwriters,” and he was featured in the coveted “What I’ve Learned” column in the February 2012 issue of Esquire. His Release Me album, out in 2012, was number one for several weeks on the Americana charts. Produced by Nathaniel Kunkel and Lovett, Release Me represents the end of an era as it was his last record for Curb / Universal Music Group after being on the label for his entire career. Release Me is quintessential Lyle, mixing a smart collection of originals and songs written by some of his favorite songwriters that show not only the breadth of this Texas legend’s deep talents but also the diversity of his influences, making him one of the most infectious and fascinating musicians in popular music.
Since his self-titled debut in 1986, Lyle Lovett has evolved into one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. His oeuvre, rich and eclectic, is one of the most beloved of any living artist working today.
Robert Earl Keen
“The road goes on forever.” It’s not always easy to sum up a career―let alone a life’s ambition―so succinctly, but those five words from Robert Earl Keen’s calling-card anthem just about do it. You can complete the lyric with the next five words―the ones routinely shouted back at Keen by thousands of fans a night (“and the party never ends!”)―just to punctuate the point with a flourish, but it’s the part about the journey that gets right to the heart of what makes Keen tick. Some people take up a life of playing music with the goal of someday reaching a destination of fame and fortune. But from the get-go, Keen just wanted to write and sing his own songs, and to keep writing and singing them for as long as possible.
“I always thought that I wanted to play music, and I always knew that you had to get some recognition in order to continue to play music,” Keen says. “But I never thought of it in terms of getting to be a big star. I thought of it in terms of having a really, really good career and writing some good songs, and getting onstage and having a really good time.”
Take two of the best songwriters in the land, put ’em on a couple of chairs, add a few guitars, some microphones and an audience. Then sit back and enjoy.
It’s not all music with these two masters of Americana and folk; their banter and observational humor is worth the ticket price alone. The stripped-down show is an opportunity to admire the sheer beauty of their pens while getting to know the personalities behind them.