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2012 album from the Country/Pop singer/songwriter. produced by Lyle Lovett and Nathanial Kunkel and featuring songs with K.D Lang, Kat Edmonson and Sara and Sean Watkins. While typically associated with the Country genre, Lovett's compositions often incorporate Folk, Swing, Blues, Jazz and Gospel music as well as more traditional Country & Western styling.
About the Artist
Four-time Grammy award winner Lyle Lovett returns with his new album, Release Me. The album highlights Lovett's signature mix of country, jazz, pop and vintage Americana and includes performances from k.d. lang, Kat Edmonson and Sara & Sean Watkins. Along with multiple self-penned originals, Release Me also features Lyle's take on classic songs such as: "Release Me", "White Freightliner Blues", "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" and the new single, "Isn't That So."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Lyle Lovett's new album "Release me," exhibits pun in name as well as aesthetic. The album is the last for the Curb Records, the label for his entire 26-year. 11-album, career. And in case you missed that the cover art depicts Lyle tied up head-to-ankle in a lariat.
Though Lovett continues a late career trend of including cover songs. But this adios to Curb raises the stakes as it contains only two Lovett originals among the album's 14 tunes. You might conclude that this last release would be a weakened collection to meet contractual obligations. You would be wrong in that assessment.
Sure Lovett may not be the most prolific songwriter on the planet but he is one of the best interpreters. There is no one that fit to polish Lovett's boots that comes close to serving as a prism for the eclectic music styles of the Lone Star State.
"Release me" wastes no time offering a burning interpretation of the classic instrumental breakdown of "Garfield's Blackberry Blossom." The number made popular in the 1930s by Fiddlin' Arthur Smith sounds both timeless and spirited in the hands of Lovett and his band.
The title track became a hit for both Jimmy Heap and Ray Price, both in 1954. Here it's done as a duet with Lovett and k.d. lang, who is so far down in themix her soaring vocals are lost. That quibble aside it's a great tear-in-my-beer standard well done.
The cover of Michael Franks' "White Boy Lost in the Blues" slinks in with the funky blues accentuated by Arnold McCuller harmony vocals.The gospel/R&B and Memphis horn-sound of "Isn't That So" works to a rousing effect and will probably kill live.
Understand You channels beautifully the tender-hearted cowboy Lovett has portrayed many time in his career. The cover of Brown Eyed is looser that Chuck Berry's original or the covers by covered by many including fellow Texans Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings. But the song still carries the weight Berry intended after being inspired by witnessing a Hispanic man being arrested by a policeman.
The Ragtime-inspired "Keep It Clean" dares you not to cut a rug and William Moore's One Way Gal is a fine-time front porch testament to a good woman.
"Dress of Laces" is an achingly lovely Daughter-Father twist on the classic murder ballad. White Freightliner Blues is one of the few up-tempo songs penned by the late, great Townes Van Zandt and Lovett plays it to it's full open-road greatness.
The two originals Lovett contributes to the album, The first is "The Girl With the Holiday Smile" (also on his 2011 holiday EP "Songs For the Season;") came from a real-life 1978 encounter young lady hiding out from the cops inside a Houston 7-11. This is my second favorite Christmas/hooker song (Tom Waits' Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis being the first.) The second cut "Night's Lullaby," which features Nickel Creek's Sara and Sean Watkins, was penned for a 2011 run in the Shakespeare Center Los Angeles' production of "Much Ado About Nothing" that the three appeared in.
I look forward to the work Lovett is free to explore in his new world as a free agent and am thankful he has left us with something this great to tide us over until the nest batch of surprises comes along.
Recently Lyle played Tulsa in an acoustic set with John Hiatt. I had seen Lyle's "large band" before but was very impressed with the acoustic guitar and singing of these great American musicians. Lyle is doing as good of work as he ever has.
If you enjoy blues, country, jazz, gospel, and bluegrass, it's all here, sometimes in the same song. All these genres are American, and Lyle is a national treasure.
Please do yourself a favor. Disregard the one star review that must be the exception that proves the rule and enjoy this music for yourself.
This is a loose and groovy set from Julia Roberts' ex-lover with quality contributions from a number of guest artists. Just in case Amazon never gets around to posting some better track info, here's a list for those (like M. Caffery) who want some collaborator credits and running times:
1 - Garfield's Blackberry Blossom 3:06
2 - Release Me (featuring K.D. Lang) 2:44
3 - White Boy Lost In The Blues (featuring Arnold McCuller) 3:32
4 - Baby, It's Cold Outside (featuring Kat Edmonson) 3:17
5 - Isn't That So 4:49
6 - Understand You 3:42
7 - Brown Eyed Handsome Man 3:36
8 - Keep It Clean 2:36
9 - One Way Gal 2:59
10 - Dress of Laces (featuring Sara Watkins) 6:12
11 - The Girl With the Holiday Smile 3:56
12 - Night's Lullaby (featuring Sara Watkins and Sean Watkins) 3:24
13 - White Freightliner Blues (featuring Keith Sewell, Luke Bulla, and Ray Herndon) 5:06
14 - Keep Us Steadfast 2:44
Some other stuff I find notable:
- Track 1 is a thumping, get-up-and-dance instrumental.
- Tracks 4 and 11 are Christmas songs released in February, the latter of which is a clever, naughty song about a hooker.
- Track 7 is a B-side single by Chuck Berry from Berry's first LP released in 1957 and has been covered by a long list of stars.
- Tracks 11 and 12 are the only Lovett originals on the album.
- Six out of fourteen tracks on the album contain significant contributions from other well-known musical artists.
- Track 14 is a reverently performed hymn based on a German hymn composed by Martin Luther and originally published in 1542.