Lyle Lovett - 12th Of June
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12th Of June (Verve, 2022)

Lyle Lovett

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

It may be disappointing to wait a decade for a new Lyle Lovett album and then discover about a third of it is covers -- and the opening track is an instrumental. Furthermore, that dry Lovett sense of humor only fully comes through on "Pants Is Overrated." Ah, but this is such a good, funny song, it should count at least for two. Even if not all of these are Lovett-penned recordings, his big, jazzy band is nevertheless a delight to the ears throughout.

Vocalist Francine Reed should almost be second billed, as she spars vocally with Lovett back-to-back on "Straighten Up And Fly Right" and "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You." Both of these two are far jazzier – stylistically -- than country, but later Lovett gives us some sweet country music with "Her Loving Man." The title track is one of Lovett's most personal and autobiographical songs to date, as he celebrates the joys of family life with it.

Lovett returns to 'oddity song subject matter' for "Pig Meat Man," which might just go on to become an anthem for bacon lovers. Lovelier, by far, is "Are We Dancing," which is a fully orchestrated standard-soundalike, and showcases how Lovett has learned to incorporate pre-rock ballad sweetness into his own writing.

True, "12th Of June" is a bit of a sonic mishmash. However, Lyle Lovett has a knack for making such a cornucopia of musical styles sound perfectly natural in his hands. In the end, it's just really good to have Lovett back.

CDs by Lyle Lovett

12th Of June, 2022 Release Me, 2012 Songs for the Season, 2011 Natural Forces, 2009 It's Not Big It's Large, 2007

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