Four-time Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett takes the stage at the Grand Opera House July 31 along with his Acoustic Group performing a musical blend of blues, country, folk, gospel and jazz.
His latest record is titled Release Me, ironically his last for Curb, which has been his label for his entire professional career. The album cover is a picture of Lovett tied up in ropes (with tongue firmly planted in cheek!).
“My first release for Curb was in 1986,” Lovett recalled. “It’s a very rare thing today to be in a record deal for that long, so this is my way, I guess, of sort of saying OK, this is it.”
And with the goodbye, comes a song selection in keeping with the idea that it’s his last for Curb. It’s a culmination record and Lovett has put on a couple of original songs, while many are the ones he used to play when he was an up-and-coming young singer.
And today, as a “free agent,” Lovett said his only plans are to “continue writing songs and making another record. I definitely don’t intend to stop. It’ll just be a little different than it has been, and I’m excited about that.”
Born in Texas and always loving music, Lovett said while he studied guitar and piano, played alto sax, and sang in the school choir, he never dreamed he’d be able to make music for a living.
“My parents always encouraged me no matter what I wanted to do,” said Lovett, 55. “So after high school, I went off to Texas A&M University to study German and journalism. In high school, I sang with a friend of mine during the summers. And when I eventually went to college, I started writing music, playing in coffee houses and even a local pizza parlor, never being able to get music completely out of my mind.”
After graduation, Lovett left Texas to study abroad in Germany, where he met a local country musician by the name of Buffalo Wayne, who included Lovett in a country-western themed event that sort of set the stage for the singer’s career.
By the time the young Lovett returned to the States, he thought about getting a “real job,” but first went to Nashville where he was “discovered” and signed with Curb. And all these years later, the tall, lanky Texan said some things have changed along the way.
“I hope I’ve grown as a person and as a craftsman,” he said. “I’ve had the luxury of being able to perform my own songs, be a character within those songs, and accepted as such. I’ve also been allowed to be myself so I never felt the need to follow current trends in popular music. I’m not writing songs for the popular recording artist to have a hit. I write things that reflect my own, individual spirit.”
Lovett has also appeared on the screen, but he doesn’t consider himself a “real actor.”
“I enjoy the process, but I never pursued it the way you need to in order to be really good at it,” he explained. “On a small level I enjoy figuring out how to make a short film and peek through the windows of someone else’s process, like the great Robert Altman, who is an incredible person and a wonderful teacher.”
In fact, it was while doing Altman’s film The Player in 1993, that Lovett met and married actress Julia Roberts. They were divorced in ’95, but he said they remain friends.
Today, Lovett said he realizes he has regrets and that, given the chance, he might do things differently.
“I’m always amazed when people say they wouldn’t change a thing. I would change a lot of things,” he said. “But at the same time, I couldn’t hope for a better result. I’m very happy with where I am now, happy with the company I keep, and very happy to have the ability to be on stage and to make music.” ••
For times and ticket information, call 1-800-37GRAND.