Updated: Nov 14, 2022
With his body bent strangely at knee and hip and with that twisting face turned ghostly under stage lights, Lyle Lovett makes me think of a sun-bleached olive tree these days, cleaving to a hot hillside somewhere.
I have no idea if olive trees grow in Texas.
Nobody is waiting for my review of the show so I won't write one here, except to say that when we caught him at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, Tampa this week he opened with dear Walter Hyatt's Babes in the Wood, he sang my song (Cowboy Man), as well as that scorcher about his home state (That's Right Your'e Not From Texas), a funny, irresistible one or two (That's No Lady That's My Wife) and a slew of others that were as great as you would expect them to be.
However, the evening was mostly about love and gratitude, and that faltering voice of his came into its own when he spoke from the heart about the troubles that the pandemic has visited upon us all these past years, and how sweet it was to be able to gather together again. I realise I'm veering towards church language here but it was that kind of night.
Lyle beamed when that poised and dextrous fiddle player of his, Luke Bulla, turned out the Temperance Reel, and when the band's bus driver, a former gospel band pianist who Lyle called up onstage to join the outfit "because we are playing here tomorrow, too, so he doesn't have to sleep through the day on Saturday and then drive us through the night" turned out his best Floyd Cramer solos with a silly grin stuck to his face. Lyle stopped a number to compliment a woman in the front row on her dazzling sequinned robe, and he chatted with another from the stage whose folks were in insurance in Victoria Tx: "Ranchers will always need insurance." I think he would have given us all a hug if he could. Go along to see him on the tour if you get the chance.
Wear a bolo tie.
Take someone you love - life is short.