Written By: Jeff Markunas
Label: Lost Highway – Rating:
The most frustrating thing about sitting in the Reviewer’s chair rather than the Producer’s chair is that I can’t pull down the master fader, leave the control room, walk into the studio and take care of business.
Reviewers can only deal with the horrible aftermath of a musical meltdown – Producers can grab the offending musician by the collar while yelling in his ear – GET OUT or I’ll call your mother and have her play guitar on this album – you stupid – no talent, S.O.B!!!!! And judging by what crosses my desk, musicians who think they have talent, but don’t, are like sand in the Sahara.
What keeps me in my chair are the Lyle Lovett’s of the musical world. The true, working-man, professionals who buckle down and get the job done with great form and style.
Listen to “(keep it in your) Pantry” for a start, an old school romp that takes it back to a great night at the Opry, or old time Country radio, when even the commercials were great songs. Pay close attention to the band that swings in and out with perfect timing and exquisite sound, as if they were a seven headed, one-man band playing with one heart, one mind and one pair of hands.
Lyle has a superb talent for crafting a song the way a master mason might build a cathedral. One perfectly cut note placed after another that crescendos into a five minute master built song. “Bohemia” fits this blueprint like the perfect church spire.
And then he has musical characters like Farmer Brown, who inhabit his songs, but can’t move to the city for fear of exposure.
Perfection and an incredibly droll sense of humor – not your average pompadour with a guitar.
Alright – you knew it was coming – I’d rather be tied up, gagged, hung upside down in the worst sewer of the 3rd world and left for dead then to ever listen to a ballad (just a small personal quirk.) However, Lyle is a Balladeer of the first water, who makes pathos seem totally natural and appealing. Although to me, one Ballad is twelve too many, a couple more medium and up-tempo tunes probably couldn’t have hurt.
Rock Bottom Line
A true Talent in top form backed by giant size musicians and besides some people like Ballads.
CWG Rating – 3.5 Guns