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Lovett gets mellow, too mellow

Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Nov. 7, 1998

By Jeffrey B. Remz

BOSTON - "Step Inside This House," Lyle Lovett's new double CD, finds him covering the works of a bevy of Texas singer/songwriters ranging from Townes Van Zandt to Guy Clark to Walter Hyatt.

And while the album stands up quite well, translating it into concert is another matter, at least based on Lovett's performance.

The songs stand up well on their own, but over the course of about two hours, this was an ultra mellow Lovett.

Too mellow. At a certain point, you wondered if the show was ever going to take off.

Lovett did the album and his fellow Texans credit whether on Michael Martin Murphey's "West Texas Highway" or Van Zandt's "Flyin' Shoes." A particular standout was Hyatt's "Teach Me About Love," which Lovett said the best advice "anyone ever gave." More of a country song, the song proved to be a good change of pace.

Lovett's voice was strong throughout, putting his heart into the songs, many of which were about the Lone Star State.

As usual, he was backed by a very fine band, including all star Matt Rollings on Piano, John Hagen on cello and Viktor Krauss on bass.

As in past shows, Lovett lets his band play out, though perhaps a bit less so this evening.

When he broke away from the "Step Inside" songs, Lovett seemed also to shift the concert into higher gear with such standouts as the ultra funny "She's No Lady (She's My Wife)" and "If I Had a Boat."

but then during the encore, Lovett switched back, going mellow yet again, ending with "No Place I've Been."

That seemed to encapsulate the evening - fine musicianship, a good performance, but too even keeled for an entertainer usually as fine and captivating as Lovett.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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