Concerts

Lyle Lovett Succeeds Outside Country's Boundaries

It's hard to figure out exactly what to make of modern country's flirtations with genres outside Nashville's rustic confines. Taylor Swift's Red incorporated an (ever-so-slight) dubstep wobble into her pop-country frame. The Zac Brown Band is covering Metallica live. Former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker gets as much mileage out of his old alt-bro hits as he does his new country ones. "Accidental Racist," Brad Paisley's blundering buddy-cop outing with LL Cool J, is an unavoidable trainwreck, and will undoubtedly go down as one of 2013's worst hick-hop singles in a year when that designation isn't a rarity or outlier at all.

In light of such general weirdness, it's tempting to suggest building a "dang fence" to keep the "real country" safe from its mutant offspring. But that would put someone like Lyle Lovett out of a job, and considering the care and craft he's exhibited for more than three decades, that would be a shame.

Lyle Lovett is scheduled to perform at Mesa Arts Center on Thursday, August 15

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.