Lovett's music career began as a songwriter. while typically associated with the country genre, Lovett's compositions often incorporate folk, swing, blues, jazz and gospel music.
He has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Country Album (The Road to Ensenada, 1996), Best Country Duo/Group with Vocal ("Blues For Dixie" with the Texas swing group Asleep at the Wheel, 1994), Best Pop Vocal Collaboration ("Funny How Time Slips Away" with Al Green, 1994) and Best Country Male Vocal (Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, 1989).
A demo tape of Lovett's music made its way to MCA Records in 1984 and the label immediately began drafting a recording contract. Lovett signed with MCA/Curb in 1986 and released his self-titled debut album that year to positive reviews.
The singles "Farther Down the Line," "Cowboy Man," "God Will," "Why I Don't Know" and "Give Back My Heart" all reached the country Top 40. It was clear that Lovett was a country music success, but it was also very obvious that his style didn't rely on the genre entirely even though his sound was rooted in country.
Lyle Lovett was a success, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, but his sophomore effort, 1987's Pontiac, is what really affirmed his talent. It was decidedly less country than his debut, but it still received rave reviews from country and mainstream critics, making Lovett a crossover success.
Pontiac introduced Lovett to a pop audience. While his success in that market grew, his country audience shrank. "She's No Lady" and "I Loved You Yesterday" was the last of his singles to crack the country Top 30.
Lovett's country audience may have been dwindling, but that certainly wasn't an indication of his future. Pontiac brought him an entirely new mainstream pop fan base and a loyal following. Lovett stayed true to his eclecticism, assembling a modified big band, His Large Band, which incorporated a range of instruments including guitars, cello, piano, a horn section and a backup singer, gospel trained Francine Reed.
Lyle Lovett and His Large Band was released in early 1989. Critics and fans lauded the album, which eventually went gold. The album was heavily influenced by jazz, R&B and swing, but it still managed to produce the minor country hit "I Married Her Just Because She Looks Like You." His rendition of Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man" also received a good deal of attention.
Lovett relocated to Los Angeles and spent the next years cutting his fourth effort. He produced Walter Hyatt's King Tears, sang in Leo Kottke's Great Big Boy and covered "Friend of the Devil" for the Grateful Dead tribute album Deadicated. Then he starred in the Robert Altman film "The Player" in 1992 and met co-star Julia Roberts. The two wed after just three weeks of dating and embarked on a very high-profile yet short-lived marriage.
Lovett's fourth album, Joshua Judges Ruth, was released shortly after "The Player" premiered. The gospel and R&B-heavy album became his most successful release to date. Pop audiences revered the record, making Lovett a mainstream staple.
Lyle Lovett was given the Americana Music Association’s inaugural Trailblazer Award, and was named Texas State Musician.
Lyle Lovett and his Acoustic Group
DATE: Friday, Oct. 4, 8pm
Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas based musician fuses elements of country, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers.