Release Me (Curb / Lost Highway)
Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., April 6, 2012
Lyle LovettRelease Me (Curb/Lost Highway)
The cover image of Lyle Lovett roped head to toe and the title of his 11th album are a gentle poke at the only record label the continental Texan has called home. After more than 25 years, Release Me is his last for Curb Records. While not overtly summing up his celebrated career to this point, the disc does reflect the country, folk, gospel, and pop styles he's explored so genially and genuinely. It begins with a traditional instrumental, hoedown "Garfield's Blackberry Blossom," and closes with a Martin Luther hymn, "Keep Us Steadfast," and in between ripples the timeless craft of Chuck Berry, Jesse Winchester, Townes Van Zandt, and Frank Loesser. Lovett penned only two of the LP's 14 songs, and his arrangement of the sleepy blues "One Way Gal" doesn't seem up to his usual high standards, so perhaps he's holding back material for whatever comes next. Even if that's true, his trademark big-band singer-songwriter acumen is splendidly arranged and performed in a manner equivalent to Lovett's high-class reputation.