Lyle Lovette and his Acoustic Group
Old National Center
Sunday, July 22
We’ve certainly had Texas-like heat in Indianapolis lately, and on Sunday night, we had Mr. Texas himself: Lyle Lovett. His newest album, Release Me, was released earlier this year. He played a few songs from the album, “Release Me,” “White Boy Lost in the Blues” and “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” to open his set. And then Lovett said, “We’re playing songs from our new album, because that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of country/western/folk music, Lyle Lovett remains sort of genre-less. He’s a small man, physically, but his knowledge of music is at least as big as Texas. He played Buddy Holly, Townes Van Zandt, The Grateful Dead and John Prine. And his ability to recall information about musicians: both influences and people he’s worked with, is staggering. And his Acoustic Group isn’t bad, either. For one, he’s got Russ Kunkel drumming for him: Kunkel has played for just about everyone, from James Taylor to Jackson Browne to Bob Dylan and several legends in between.
Lovett said that tonight was kind of a family night, and had several of his musicians talk about/introduce their families. He also reminded the audience that he’s sarcastic as hell when he said, “You know, life is really about the experiences that you have,” and then instantly launched into “Girl With the Holiday Smile,” which has a first line, “I met a hooker at the grocery store... ” He kept the packed theatre happy by playing “If I Had a Boat,” “She’s No Lady,” “Fiona” and “Up in Indiana,” among other favorites.
His encore included the slow and lovely, “Nobody Knows Me,” and Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freight Liner Blues,” which highlighted all of the musicians on stage. Lovett’s picking and his voice are just cutting in their simplicity and their absolute beauty. He mentioned that he liked playing at the Murat, (and noted the name change), which is good, because Indianapolis seems to like him to be there as often as possible.