Lyle Lovett

Natural Forces

If you date back to the beginnings with Lyle Lovett, then you might have begun to take him a bit for granted by now. He’s been around for going on three decades, and he’s so consistently and distinctively good that it’s easy to underestimate just what a natural force he has become on the American music scene. No one looks like him, no one writes songs like his, and no one sounds like him. His wit, his humor, and his ability to tell a tight tale in a few lines put Lovett in a small cadre of American singer/songwriters. Whether on a solid rock ’n’ roll juke-joint jump tune like “Farmer Brown” or a sensitive cover of Towne Van Zandt’s “Loretta,” Lovett’s chops are on full display here. “Keep It in Your Pantry” is droll, a cautionary tale about temptations both culinary and erotic, and “Whooping Crane” is an intelligent writer’s take on our across-the-board losses—from endangered species to clean drinking water. Guys like Lovett remind us all of why we used to think pop music could be more than just catchy tunes with a danceable backbeat. He makes thinking fun.