Ralph Dent chases a man,
RIDING ON A PONY ON A BOAT
He once said that“I’ve always thought that writing isn’t really that hard. It’s having a good idea that’s hard.” He need not have worried, though. He seems to have had a sack full of good ideas in the course of a hugely varied and successful career.
Lyle Pearce Lovett (left born November 1, 1957) is an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. Active since 1980, he has recorded 13 albums and released 25 singles to date, including his highest entry, the number 10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, “Cowboy Man”. Lovett has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Album. His most recent album is 12th of June, released in 2022.
I had loved his first couple of albums but somehow lost track of his later work, although an article I read recently on Wiki revealed how he since become feted by many genres of the arts.
Lovett was born in Houston, Texas, when his family lived in the nearby community of Klein. He is the son of William Pearce and Bernell Louise (née Klein) Lovett, a marketing executive and training specialist, respectively. He was raised in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. Lovett attended Texas A&M University, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in both German and Journalism in 1980. In the early 1980s, Lovett often played solo acoustic sets at the small bars just off the A&M campus.
Lovett began his music career as a singer-songwriter. By the early 1980s, Lovett had already distinguished himself in the burgeoning Texas folk acoustic scene. He had performed in the New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1980 and 1982. An American singer, Buffalo Wayne, whom he had met in 1978 during a college trip to Germany, invited Lovett to play with him at the 1983 Schueberfouer in Luxembourg. One of the events at the funfair was an American musical tent. The owner of that event was a fan of the Phoenix, Arizona, house band J. David Sloan and the Rogues.
He invited the Rogues for the event, and Lovett was encouraged by band members Ray Herndon and Matt Rollings to sit in with the group, which did some of his songs. They opened his eyes to what his songs could sound like with proper backing; Lovett had never sung with a band before. Sloan and band member Billy Williams offered Lovett a deal on studio time, first day free. In 1984 Lovett took them up on the offer. After several stays in Arizona over that summer he recorded 18 songs.] The demo tape of the first four songs led to his first record deal; ten of those songs, recorded with the Rogues, became Lovett’s self-titled debut album. He made many long- time contacts in Arizona during that time. Several of the Rogue
players, Herndon, Matt McKenzie, Rollings, and Williams, went on to play in his band. Williams produced or co-produced several of his albums from 1987–2007. Through them he met Francine Reed, who began recording with him in 1985 and toured with him for decades. In 2022, reliving his Phoenix connection:
It led to a demo tape, an album and now, this rolling Thanksgiving tour…It’s all because of running into this band in Luxembourg. That’s a long way to get to Phoenix from Texas. It’s a lot shorter if you just do I–10
He signed with MCA Records in 1986 and released his eponymous debut album. He sang harmony vocals on Nanci Griffith’s The Last of the True Believers album (1986). While typically associated with the country genre, Lovett’s compositions incorporated folk, swing, blues, jazz and gospel music as well as more traditional country & western styling.
He has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Country Album (1996 for The Road to Ensenada), Best Country Duo/Group with Vocal (1994 for “Blues For Dixie” with the Texas swing group Asleep at the Wheel), Best Pop Vocal Collaboration (1994 for “Funny How Time Slips Away” with Al Green) and Best Country Male Vocal (1989 for Lyle Lovett and His Large Band). In 1995, Lovett performed a duet of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” with Randy Newman for Toy Story. He plays Collings acoustic guitars.
Lovett has acted in a number of films, notably four for director Robert Altman: The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993), Prêt-à-Porter (1994), and Cookie’s Fortune (1999). He also composed the score for the director’s Dr. T & the Women (2000). Some of his other film roles include Bastard Out Of Carolina (1996), The New Guy (2002), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), and a humorous role in Angels Sing, a family Christmas movie (alongside fellow actors and musicians such as Harry Connick, Jr., Connie Britton, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson). His television acting forays include guest roles on Mad About You and Castle, a recurring role on The Bridge (as Flagman, a lawyer), and appearances as himself on Dharma & Greg and Brothers & Sisters. He also made a couple of show stealing performances in episodes of the series Blue Bloods (right), that perpetuated the legacy of shows like Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blues from America.
Lovett was given an award called an “Esky” for Surest Thing in Esquire’s 2006 Esky Music Awards in the April issue. The magazine said of Lovett: “The secret of Lyle Lovett’s endurance comes down to the three C’s: class, charisma and consistency… In the studio and on stage with his giant orchestra, he’s spent two decades gracefully matching genuine songcraft with A-list musicianship”.
In 2011, Lovett was named Texas State Artist Musician by the Texas Commission on the Arts.
On October 24, 2019, Lovett was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.
Lovett performing at the Oregon Zoo, July 2016
Lovett married actress Julia Roberts after meeting her on the set of The Player. Following a three-week romance, they eloped and married in June 1993 in Marion, Indiana. In March 1995, they divorced after less than two years of marriage. People magazine reported that the breakup was caused by career demands. They remained friends afterwards.
Since late 1997, Lovett has been in a relationship with April Kimble. They became engaged in 2003. They were married on February 4, 2017, in Harris County, Texas. Their twins, a boy and a girl, were born that year.
On March 28, 2002, Lovett was trapped by a bull against a fence on his uncle’s farm in Klein, Texas, before being pulled to safety. He fully recovered after six months from a badly broken leg, and he began touring again in summer 2003.
Lovett was conferred the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Houston on May 15, 2010, at its general commencement ceremony. His mother was in the audience as her son was presented with an honorary doctorate from the same university from which she had received her bachelor’s degree in 1960. His father was also a graduate of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture of the University of Houston. In 2015, Lovett received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Texas A&M University.
Lovett is also a horse enthusiast and co-owns and competes in reining competitions with world class Quarter Horse, Smart and Shiney. In 2012, Lovett was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.] In 2018, he was awarded the National Reining Horse Association Lifetime Achievement Award in the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame.
Lines like God might forgive you but I won´t or ther spectacular ´riding on my pony on my boat´ that came early in Lovett´s career and Mary Chapin Carpenter´s ´fantasy league´pairing of Dwight Yoaken and Lovett promised to place Lyle in the category of a writer´s writer and I expected his albums to slot on to my shelves somewhere between Kristofferson and Newbury,
However, Lovett has long claimed the artist´s right to move on, and experimented and he has succeeded in other genres he became a bigger player on a bigger stage whilst , perhaps knowingly, relinquishing his place in the pantheon of little-known legends.