Lyle Lovett has finally hit that point in his career where he can turn in a covers album and not be accused of simply fulfilling a contract agreement or tossing out a record as a desperate last grab for relevancy or to make the next mortgage payment (I’m looking at you Rod Stewart). Ok, so the fact that this is his last record for longtime label Curb may have just killed that first argument, but it’s still a great album.
A combination of originals and covers, Release Me still carries that “I don’t give a shit whether you call me country or not” Lovett hallmark that has made him such a fantastic musician over the years. Genres be damned, he’s a national music treasure in any market.
Along with classic covers, the album even includes two of the songs that made it onto his recent Christmas EP (“The Girl with the Holiday Smile” and a stellar duet alongside Kat Edmonson on “Baby Its Cold Outside”). But the most impressive track is his classic take on the Martin Luther hymn “Keep Us Steadfast”, an almost saintly effort.
Worst case scenario, even if Release Me is little more than a “here, can I leave now?” record to the execs at Curb, it’s still a Lovett album which is never a bad thing.
Top tracks: “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” and “Keep Us Steadfast”
Lyle Lovett – Release Me/14 tracks/Curb and Lost Highway/2012