Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

CD Review: Lyle Lovett 

Natural Forces (Lost Highway)

Generally, a new Lyle Lovett album is like a welcome visit from an old friend or a new pair of jeans that fit as comfortable as if they'd been worn for a decade. Lovett occupies a place in country music similar to the one Randy Newman inhabits in pop: a wry observer of the foibles of the common man who uses humor and sentimentality — both subtle and broad — to make his points. On Natural Forces, Lovett follows that well-traveled path while making a slight return to 1998's Step Inside This House, populating the album with covers of his favorite Texas songwriters. Lovett's originals run the gamut — from the gently powerful title track to the lowbrow nudge-wink of "Farmer Brown" ("Gonna choke my chicken 'til the sun goes down ...") to the obvious dinner-as-sex metaphor of "Pantry." Then — typical of Lovett's best work — he turns on a dime, describing heartbreak in the most eloquent fashion on "Empty Blue Shoes."

Lovett is equally commanding when interpreting other songwriters, particularly his Texas bretheren, shown by his aching take on Eric Taylor's "Whooping Crane," his jazzy, rootsy spin on Tommy Elskes' "Bohemia" and his perfect stroll through "Loretta," a barroom ode to love by the late Townes Van Zandt, the patron saint of Lone Star troubadours. Lovett goes out with a bang (the bonus acoustic version of "Pantry" notwithstanding) on "It's Rock and Roll," a swinging, sinewy roots-rocker co-penned with his former Texas A&M roommate Robert Earl Keen, capping Natural Forces with the engagingly offhand brilliance that has defined Lovett's catalog for more than two decades.Brian Baker

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays

© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation