Local Wire

Lyle Lovett

Like Baywatch, Balkan warfare and runaway Internet speculation, Lyle Lovett will always be indelibly linked to the 1990s. It was in the '90s, after all, that the spindly country crooner won three of his four Grammy Awards, married Julia Roberts in history's most egregious abuse of Funny-Looking-Musician Romantic Privilege, and enjoyed regular acting work as the Lynchian man-muse of Short Cuts filmmaker Robert Altman. Needless to say, it ain't the '90s no more. The Grammys' country wing is now dominated by the likes of Trace Adkins and Rascal Flatts, Roberts is procreating like crazy with her live-in cameraman, and Altman is layering funny, literate dialogue in that great editing room in the sky. Meanwhile, Lovett just keeps on making terrifically nuanced and soulful music, albeit at a slightly more relaxed clip than in the old days. On his current tour, Lovett and his 16-piece Large Band (coined in playful defiance of the "big band" label) will pick and choose from the musician's eclectic backlog of country-and-Western swing, blue-eyed soul, gospel, bluegrass and jazz, all compiled over a 30-year career. Unlike so many Clinton-decade icons — like, um, Bill Clinton — Lovett endures.
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Craig Outhier