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Biography: Lyle Lovett

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Lyle Lovett is a man who is known for his class and skill as a performer - as both a musician and an actor.

 

Lovett: musician, poet, actor, and activist.

 

A native Texan born in 1957, Lovett has won 4 Grammy awards and has been hailed as "the thinking man's cowboy".  Raised in Harris County on a horse ranch near Houston, he was the son of a marketing executive and a training specialist.  He spent his college years at Texas A&M University studying German and journalism.  While living in College Station, he befriended Robert Earl Keen and began writing his own music.  He spent his graduate years living in Germany and when he returned in 1983 he worked his way into a Mickey Rooney TV movie called Bill: On His Own.  In 1984, he had a song he wrote covered by Nanci Griffith who he had met while a journalism student years earlier.  Through Nanci, he met Guy Clark who liked Lovett's style so much that he got the attention of MCA Records producer Tony Brown.  In 1986, Lovett signed with MCA Records and released his first album, Lyle Lovett, later that year.  Peaking at #14 on the US Country Charts, the album was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews and the 29-year-old Lovett had officially made it.

 

Lovett won the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1982 while visiting home.

 

It was clear from the onset that labeling Lovett as a "country" artist was only telling part of the truth - the man included elements of all kinds of music in his work, including jazz, pop, and folk.  His second album, Pontiac, was released to great acclaim in 1987.  It became his first gold album, peaking at #12 on the Country Charts and broke into the Top 200 at #117.  By this point, he was not only reaching the country music fans, but the pop and rock ones as well.  A cult following began to form and Lovett put together His Large Band, who would be featured on his third album Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.  The band would include a large variety of musicians, including a cellist, a pianist, horn players, and a gospel vocalist among the more standard country/rock fare.  The album, by the way, peaked at #10 on the Country Charts and #62 on the Top 100.

 

The cover of Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.

 

Featuring so many different styles of music had a few drawbacks:  Lovett's country base began to get turned off of him.  The feeling apparently was mutual, as Lovett relocated to Los Angeles and began producing other artists while working on his next album.  He also started his acting career back up, having a part in the 1992 film the Player. His fourth album, Joshua Judges Ruth, was released later that year.  Although the album was a huge success, going gold and peaking at #57 on the Top 100, it was his first album to not chart on the Country Charts at all.  His next album I Love Everybody fell into a similar pattern, peaking at #26 on the Top 100 and not even charting on the Country Charts. During this time, Lovett had a short lived marriage with Julia Roberts and the two remain friends to this day.

 

Lovett was married to Julia Roberts from 1993 - 1995.

 

After his divorce and album release, Lovett spent some time out of the spotlight to tour and work on new material.  He saw fit to revisit his roots and his next album the Road to Ensenada reflects that, being the first album since Pontiac to feature mostly country songs.  His old country fans decided to forgive him and shot his album straight up to #4 on the Country Charts, a place he hadn't seen in several years.  He also broke his record on the Top 100, making it to #24.  Lovett continued to act, even having a small part in the cult classic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  His next album Step Inside This House featured many cover songs of his favorite Texas musicians, including Guy Clark and Robert Earl Keen.  The album also did well on the Country Charts, peaking at #9 (it peaked at #55 on the Top 100).

 

The Road to Ensenada sent Lovett back up to the top of the Country Charts.

 

The 2000's were a busy decade for the star.  2003 brought a new album, My Baby Don't Tolerate, which peaked at #7 on the Country Charts and #63 on the Top 100.  The next album came out in 2007.  Called It's Not Big It's Large, it broke all of Lovett's previous records on the charts by reaching #2 on the Country Charts and #18 on the Top 100.  In 2009, he released Natural Forces which also climbed to the top of the charts.  During all of these big releases, he continued his acting career.  He had a part in the 2002 comedy the New Guy and played as himself in the TV series Dharma and Greg as well as the movie Walk Hard: the Dewey Cox Story.

 

The newest album, Release Me, hit #9 on the charts.

 

There's a new Lyle Lovett album out!  Entitled Release Me, it came out at the end of February..  If you're interested in learning more about Lyle Lovett, you should visit his homepage at www.lylelovett.com.

 

Discography:

(1986) Lyle Lovett - #14

(1988) Pontiac - #12

(1989) Lyle Lovett and His Large Band - #10

(1992) Joshua Judges Ruth

(1994) I Love Everybody

(1996) The Road to Ensenada - #4

(1998) Step Inside This House - #9

(1999) Live in Texas - #7

(2001) Anthology, Vol. 1: Cowboy Man - #26

(2003) My Baby Don't Tolerate - #7

(2003) Smile

(2007) It's Not Big It's Large - #2

(2009) Natural Forces - #8

(2012) Release Me - #9

 

Songs on KBEC 1390:

"Cowboy Man" - #10

"Stand By Your Man" - #82

"That's Right (You're Not from Texas)"