Lyle Lovett: Release Me

Lyle Lovett
Release Me
(UMG Records)

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Claiming that he “never made a dime” from album sales, Lyle Lovett’s new Release Me sees him released from the record company he’s recorded for since 1986. Maybe now he’ll make some bucks?

L.L.’s great band begins with 1930’s round-de-round fiddle/guitar/drumming instrumental “Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom.” A pure country duet between Lovett and K.D. Lang, “Please Release Me” follows and Arnold McCuller’s harmony vocals on “White Boy Lost in the Blues” makes this Michael Franks cover soar.

The horn punctuation, great guitar lead and harmony of poppy gospel on “Isn’t That So” is a freaking hit if I ever heard one. “Understand You” has a perfectly placed piano behind L.L.’s acoustic, which is simply gorgeous. I also love the plodding take on “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man,” which, slowed down, truly accentuates Chuck Berry’s poetry.

The spit and chunk of “One Way Gal” shows off Lovett’s pickers again. “Dress of Laces” again sees some nice atmospheric pedal steel and Lovett singing so nice and light with Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins.

Lovett’s self-penned contributions here, “The Girl with the Holiday Smile,” is a fun story song about a real life encounter between its author and a hooker and the simply nice “Night’s Lullaby,” featuring Sara Watkins again as well as Sean Watkins and some great piano.

Of course a great song like Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues” would get a great exercising by a band like Lovett’s…and it surely does. It is probably the best song here, on an album of a lot of great songs!

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