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Speaker Box: Lyle Lovett Love

In praise of a truly unique musician



Lyle Lovett

 

One of the most clichéd words in journalism is “unique.” So much so that most editors ban the word, for it elicits an instant eye roll. But for some musicians, “original,” “distinctive” or “inimitable” just doesn’t do them justice. Lyle Lovett, in a word, is unique. And he deserves all of the positive accolades that accompany that description.

With his elaborate Eraserhead haircut, wide grin and penguin nose, Lovett has always looked more like a fancy architect renowned for car park designs than a cowboy poet from Houston. When Lovett married Oscar-winning superstar Julia Roberts, the paps and tabloid media called it a “Beauty and the Beast” arrangement. Totally unfair. With Lovett’s charisma and charm, it’s easy now to see how he wooed such a beauty.

Lovett, along with his longtime friend and colleague Robert Earl Keen, will be performing March 9 at the Civic Center Music Hall in downtown OKC. The evening is billed as an acoustic show, and will feature the two men, on two chairs, with their guitars. It’s similar to the Front Porch on Church Street tour two years ago, which recalled the two musicians’ origins while attending college at Texas A&M in the late 1970s.

Lovett writes deep, dark songs with wicked humor. On “Cowboy Man,” his signature song from his eponymous debut in 1986, he sings in puns that never seem to cross the line of impropriety. “And I can rope her on the prairie, and I can ride her on the plain, and she will be my Cinderella, if I’ll be her cowboy man.”

On “If I Had a Boat,” from “Pontiac,” he sings about being a cowboy again, solitary on the range, without the high maintenance ball-and-chain of female companionship. “If I was Roy Rogers, I couldn’t bring myself to marrying old Dale.” He instead imagines himself astride a pony, on a boat on a calm ocean. “Me upon my pony on my boat,” he sings. It’s a comical image … but adventure is ahead.

While Lovett has the musical depth to perform onstage with just a microphone and a guitar, he is also comfortable touring and recording extensively with his Large Band. The aptly named group brings in a horn section, stringed instruments, back-up singers and full orchestration and arrangements. The diverse combo allows Lovett to meld Western Swing with jazz and traditional pop, forming something wholly unique. See, there’s that word again.Like his pal Lovett, Keen is a tried-and-true Texan. He made the Nashville reverse commute in the mid-1980s, attempting to achieve stardom in Music City. But he has been synonymous with his home state ever since moving back to where he belongs.

Keen’s songwriting style is far less sardonic than Lovett’s, but equally romantic and inspirational. His most famous song is likely “The Road Goes on Forever,” from his second LP “West Textures.” Keen has had a far bumpier road than Lovett in attaining mainstream success, but his song-writing peers in Joe Ely, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Guy Clark have helped him generate a near cult-like following.

The Lovett/Keen show promises to be a special evening and likely will sell out. Tickets can be purchased at okcciviccenter.com.


 

Since most classic rock fans are now past middle age and have flexible discretionary income, labels with deep artist catalogues have been digging through the vaults trying to find reasons for extensive reissues with hidden gems and alternate recordings.

For his part, Bruce Springsteen has been forthcoming with revisiting his past, as he has done sporadically with the “Tracks” box set in 1998 and special anniversary reissues for “Born to Run” and “Darkness on the Edge of Town.” The latter set, which was intended to be a 30-year-anniversary reissue of the original LP released in 1978, actually came out in 2010 with a two-disc bonus record of 21 previously unreleased songs called “The Promise.”

“The Promise” likely set the blueprint for Springsteen’s latest, “The Ties That Bind” box set. Known also as “The River Collection,” this 4-CD, 3-DVD set honors the 35th anniversary of 1980’s “The River,” with 22 outtakes previously only heard on fan-made bootlegs.

Some of the songs are familiar, such as “Roulette” and “Held Up Without a Gun.” What’s evident is the challenge that Springsteen faced in whittling 60 songs down to a two-record set. Keep in mind that prior to compact discs, vinyl records could only be mastered to about 22 minutes a side, further constraining “The River’s” eventual final song selection.

No matter now. As Springsteen moves forward with continual writing and recording of new music, he seems less interested in guarding these long-lost treasures. The “Ties That Bind” material is epic and fascinating, and at nearly $100, well worth the cost of admission.

 

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Calendar

April 2019

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
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Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
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Cost: $23.95

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The OSU Symphony Orchestra will conclude the 2018-19 season with Schubert's monumental and majestic Symphony No. 9 in C ("The Great"). The concert opens with The European Anthem,...

Cost: General Admission: $10; Students & Seniors: $7

Where:
Oklahoma State University Department of Music
132 Seretean Ctr
Stillwater, OK  74078
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Sponsor: Oklahoma State University Department of Music
Telephone: 405.744.6133
Contact Name: Dr. Thomas Dickey
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Potbelly Sandwich Shop
8500 N Rockwell Ave
OKC, OK  73132
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Sponsor: Potbelly Sandwich Shop
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

Show More...
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The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
View map »


Sponsor: Delta Dental

More information

Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Individual Artists of Oklahoma
706 W. Sheridan Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Individual Artists of Oklahoma
Telephone: 405.412.2541
Contact Name: David Smith

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Cost: $5 at the door, 13 and under free

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Heritage Place
2829 S. MacArthur
Oklahoma City, OK  73128
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Sponsor: Junk Hippy
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Where:
Branson Junior High
263 Buccaneer Boulevard
Branson, MO  65616
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Sponsor: A Sporting Chance
Telephone: 404-314-2188
Contact Name: Hannah Schachinger

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RexFest will feature an interactive art exhibit called a luminarium created by Architects of Air. From April 25-28, visitors can walk through the inflatable sculpture, which disperses light and...

Cost: $8 for kids; $10 for adults; $30 for families of four

Where:
Together Square
400 W Sheridan Avenue
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Sponsor: Delta Dental

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Cost: Free

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Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
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Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Contact Name: Evan
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Men and women from across the American West played critical roles - both “over there” and on the home front - in helping the Allies win World War I. The National Cowboy & Western...

Cost: $12.50

Where:
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum
1700 Northeast 63rd Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73111
View map »


Telephone: 405.478.2250
Contact Name: Jenni
Website »

More information

The Annual Mentorship Exhibition features pieces from Oklahoma City high school students that visit the Artspace studio each month. Throughout the duration of the program, the students engage with...

Cost: Free

Where:
Artspace at Untitled
1 NE 3rd st
Oklahoma City, OK  73104
View map »


Sponsor: Artspace at Untitled
Telephone: 405-815-9995
Website »

More information

Andy Alligator's is celebrating teachers! On Saturday and Sunday, teachers with a valid ID will receive a FREE All-Day Pass and $5 off for each family member! An All-Day Pass includes...

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Andy Alligator's Fun Park & Water Park
3300 Market Pl
Norman, OK  73072
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America’s largest interactive comedy murder mystery dinner show is now playing at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. At The Dinner Detective, you’ll tackle a challenging crime while you...

Cost: $59.95

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The Skirvin Hilton
1 Park Ave
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Sponsor: The Dinner Detective
Telephone: 866.496.0535
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Tulsa Botanic Garden
3900 Tulsa Botanic Dr
Tulsa, OK  74127
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Sponsor: Tulsa Botanic Garden
Telephone: 918-289-0330
Contact Name: Lori Hutson
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Cost: Free, contests have entry fee

Where:
Fassler Hall
421 NW 10th
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Sponsor: Revolve Productions
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