Lyle Lovett 

Saturday, August 12, at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium.

Lyle Lovett used to like his hair and his music big. He's since scaled down, sporting a more spiffy and less high 'do these days, and his last studio release, 1998's Step Inside This House, a tribute to homeboy Texas songwriters, is a more subtle affair than the big-band, horn-and-strings records that preceded it. That doesn't mean, however, that Lovett doesn't still do things in grand style. His mix of sophisticated country with swing themes and rustic serenading produced three great albums -- 1987's Pontiac, 1989's Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, and the crown jewel, 1992's Joshua Judges Ruth -- in a 15-year career that's since branched off into film (he's become one of Robert Altman's stock players, appearing in the director's The Player, Short Cuts, and Cookie's Fortune). Oh yeah, he was also married to actress Julia Roberts for a while. But it's Lovett's music that will serve as his legacy. One of country music's true oddities, Lovett was initially pigeonholed into that genre for lack of a more consistent one. That glossy Music City had no clue what to do with the tall, lanky Texan is no surprise (it also fumbled the career of k.d. lang around the same time). His very adult music is laced with a humor rarely found in modern music, country or otherwise. His current summer tour features the same modest 10-piece unit that accompanied him on his last tour (and appeared on its souvenir album, Live in Texas) and should be, as always, an entertaining affair.

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