Natural Forces (Curb / Lost Highway)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., Oct. 23, 2009
Lyle LovettNatural Forces (Curb/Lost Highway)
His songwriting muse isn't as active as it once was, but that doesn't prevent Lyle Lovett from making albums that fit pleasingly into his career's output. The lanky Texan composed just five of Natural Forces' 11 songs, the rest being from other Texas-based writers he's long respected, compatriots Eric Taylor, David Ball, Vince Bell, and Townes Van Zandt. Two of his own efforts, "Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel" and "Pantry," feature droll wordplay. "I'm gonna choke my chicken 'til the sun goes down" and "keep it in your pantry" are as ribald as he's ever been. "It's Rock and Roll," a co-write with Keen, is big Southern rock with the crooner's trademark crooked smirk. Natural Forces is hardly all humor though, the melancholy of Bell's "Sun and Moon and Stars" and the jazz/blues underworld crafted on Tommy Elskes' "Bohemia" both dramatic and distinctive. Natural Forces sits comfortably next to early Lovett efforts like Pontiac – jovial, artful, and packed with deep Texas roots.