Feature

Lyle Lovett: Natural Forces

Lovett continues along his musically unique path on his 12th album and pays tribute to such heroes as Townes Van Zandt and Robert Earl Keen.

(Curb/Lost Highway)

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“Not quite country, not exactly blues, and definitely not jazz,” Lyle Lovett’s musical style has always defied convention, said Corey duBrowa in Paste. Coupling his reedy voice and “witty wordplay” with a “grab bag” of styles, the tall-haired Texan continues along his musically unique path on his 12th album, Natural Forces. “An epic in the wide-open Texan tradition,” the album finds Lovett paying tribute to some of his heroes, including Townes Van Zandt (“Loretta”) and Robert Earl Keen (“It’s Rock and Roll”). He effortlessly switches from twangy folk to barroom stomps, said Stephen Deusner in The Washington Post. Just about all the songs are easy on the ears, but they seem so typical of Lovett “that they all sound pretty much the same” no matter the style. Even originals like “Whooping Crane” are indistinguishable and, too often, “inconsequential” for a songwriter who’s put out quality records for two decades. Unfortunately, Natural Forces is that “rare thing for Lovett: a slight and unsatisfying album.”

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