While music should be and is open for interpretation by the listener, Lovett's new album, IT'S NOT BIG IT'S LARGE, suggests notions of mortality, loss and the fluidity of time. In many of the songs, the past intrudes on t... more »he present and the narrator finds strength to deal with the travails of today by putting them into historical perspective. That sounds like heavy-going, but its Lovett's gift to make the deep thoughts slide down like honey.« less
While music should be and is open for interpretation by the listener, Lovett's new album, IT'S NOT BIG IT'S LARGE, suggests notions of mortality, loss and the fluidity of time. In many of the songs, the past intrudes on the present and the narrator finds strength to deal with the travails of today by putting them into historical perspective. That sounds like heavy-going, but its Lovett's gift to make the deep thoughts slide down like honey.
Lovett returns to form on latest album mixing country, acous
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 08/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Closer in sound to "Lyle Lovett and His Large Band" and "Joshua Judges Ruth" than the last couple of albums, Lovett is clearly in his comfort zone when it comes to mixing so many diverse styles from big band, elements of jazz, country and acoustic folkie ruminations on life, love and death. "It's Not Big It's Large" continues on in the vein of those other albums and is a terrific recordings with top notch songs.
Fans may want to be aware that there is also a deluxe edition with a DVD. This features performances of the songs woven into a documentary about the making of the album. If you're a huge Lovett fan you may want to pick this up vs. the regular CD version.
Opening with the a cover of Lester Young's "Tickle Toe" and moving quickly into the gospel tinged "I Will Rise Up/Ain't No More Cane" (the latter part of the medley is reprised at the end along with an acoustic performance of "Up in Indiana", just about every song from the jazzy sounding "No Big Deal" to "Don't Cry a Tear" opening with the moody sounds of steel and acoustic guitar can hold their own with his best material.
The witty "It's All Downhill" name checks his compatriots Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Guy Clark (they toured as part of a singer/songwriter package together). The name check is more than tip of the hat to these other soulful singer/songwriters as he also thanks them in the credits. There's no doubt that Lovett's peers gave him feedback on the songs he composed for this album. Clark himself makes a guest appearence on "South Texas Girl" one of the songs with the strongest country flavor.
While this album doesn't break any new ground in terms of the sound or style (clearly Lovett has found his niche sound and it works well for him), it's ultimately the quality of the songs themselves that sells "It's Not Big It's Large". Packaged in a digipak holder with a booklet featuring lyrics, this is a strong album from Lovett. -Wayne Klein"
Wow ... Lyle has arrived ... again
Terry Mathews | a small town in east Texas | 08/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have just listened to one run through of the new CD, but it's incredible and even if you're new to Lyle's music, you'll fall under his impressive storytellling charms. He's in a class by himself ... and with good reason.
I'm partial to ALL DOWNHILL because Lovett talks about Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Guy Clark ... and about the surprise that success sometimes brings and the uncertainty every performer must deal with from time to time. He also tips his hat to his former neighbor, Robert Earl Keen, by putting AIN'T NO CANE, one of the songs they learned together back in the late 70s on the CD.
Clark opens and closes SOUTH TEXAS GIRL, a great waltz across Texas. Wow.
UP IN INDIANA will give you something to think about ... "Hell don't care and Heaven knows, I'm Up in Indiana Where the tall corn grows."
NO BIG DEAL is also vintage Lovett. It harkens back to his 1998 cover Willis Alan Ramsey's SLEEPWALKING. This one is a little bit country, a lot smooth jazz licks and just a barrel of fun.
Lyle takes a more somber approach to I WILL RISE UP and AIN'T NO MORE CANE, surrounding himself with some great gospel voices .... this is some powerful stuff.
DON'T CRY A TEAR is a tender goodbye to a loved one .... It begins with what sounds like an aboriginal didgeridoo, the deep reverberation of a single bass note .... But there are echos of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" throughout the song, so it must be a celebration of life, rather than a sad dirge ... lovely. Just lovely.
TICKLE TOE reminds me of the Tonight Show band, coming back after a commerical break. Happy notes. Very happy notes.
The final two cuts are acoustic versions of AIN'T NO MORE CANE and UP IN INDIANA ... to my ears, they are better stripped down to their essence ... there are some great voices on AIN'T NO MORE CANE and there's some terrific pickin' on UP IN INDIANA ... doesn't get much better than this .... really.
I've been a Lovett fan for more years than I care to count .... he has never failed to deliver the goods ... with this new release, he has once again stepped up to the plate and hit a home run. This CD will be in rotation on my iPod forever."
Buy the Deluxe Edition
James R. Pettyjohn | 09/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with everything the others have written, but I would encourage you to buy the deluxe edition which includes a DVD. The DVD really adds to the enjoyment and understanding of many of the songs. Two in particular are important: "I Will Rise Up" and "South Texas Girl".
Seeing Lyle's family, the ranch, hearing what may be part of his story, seeing some of his horses and seeing his girlfriend, who he has been with since 1999 really enriched "South Texas Girl". Similarly, it opened up the full range of interpretations to "I Will Rise Up/Ain't No More Cane". Lyle has been opening/closing with that song live and when I heard it I thought it was right up there with Springstein's "Streets of Philsdelphia" and "Nebraska".
After seeing the DVD I went out and bought one for my best friend, who came to the concert with me. It's an investment in enjoyment and understanding.
By the way, if you don't have the self-titled Lyle Lovett CD, there are songs on that baby that exhibit true world-class writing, as creative, clear and poignant as you can get while continuing to be sincere, insightful, and simple."
A Return to the Lyle sound of the 90's
Stephen M. John | Seattle, Wa | 08/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""It's Not Big It's Large" will be a breath of fresh air to any Lyle Lovett fan, starved for new music from the gifted Texan, who had been an insanely original blend of not quite country, not quite jazz and not quite blues. Lyle has not had a new release since 2003's "My Baby Don't Tolerate," his first release on the Lost Highway label. "Tolerate" was a solid, if unspectacular effort that managed to peak at #7 on the C&M charts largely because of the re-release of two earlier Lovett standards, "San Antonio Girl" and "The Truck Song" as well as the lively "Cute as a Bug."
Lovett had four definitive efforts from 1986 to 1996, "Pontiac," " Lyle Lovett and His Large Band," "Joshua Judges Ruth" and "The Road to Ensenada" before veering off in a different direction, one that I tolerated (no pun intended) because it was Lyle but a direction I did not like nearly as well. "It's Not Big" represents a return to that early 90's Lovett sound that I found to be so original and refreshing. Lovett's Large Band was always tight, and this CD is no different. Returning from "Ensenada" are the backbone of the Large Band, bass player Vicktor Krauss, guitarists Mitch Watkins and Dean Parks, cello player John Hagan, mandolin player Sam Bush, drummer Russ Kunkle, Matt Rollings on keys and the sweet harmonies of Sweet Pea Atkinson and Francine Reed. These performers have lost nothing and continue to form a sweet blend of blues, jazz and country that almost no one else I know can pull off.
This CD had me hooked from the opening riffs of Tickle Toe, which takes you back to the jazz influences of 1989's Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. "Make it Happy" will remind you of "Church" from the "Joshua" album. And "Travelling Around" seems to be influenced by one of my favorite Lovett cuts "If I Needed You." "No Big Deal" is Lovett at his jazzy-bluesy best, and "Ain't No More Cane" recalls Lovett's spiritual influences. There are two versions of "Up in Indiana "on this CD, the latter an acoustic bluegrass version that features some incredible dobro, fiddle and mandolin playing that will have you tapping your feet. The Alley Song is a soft ballad that will take you back to the title track of "Ensenada."
All in all, this CD will likely not go down as his very best effort, but when all is said and done I will clump this CD with the four albums described earlier as albums all Lyle Lovett fans will want to own. "
Distinctly Lyle, that is, highly individualistic...
collegemoney | 10/01/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Few people would be brave enough to structure an album the way Lyle does here, in that he doesn't exactly stack the most commercial stuff to the front. For example, he starts things off with a Bob Wills style instrumental rather than a hook-laden vocal of his own. Back in the days when record programmers started each LP side off with the potential "hits," this would have raised a few hairs. But, of course, such risk taking is what Lyle is all about, right? Many of the songs here utilize sections of the "large band" rather than the whole enchilada, and the backup vocalists, old buddies Sweet Pea Atkinson and Harry Bowens, and others, are used prominently. As a whole, "It's Not Big.." is fairly uncategorizable, it isn't exactly country, it isn't exactly jazz, and so on. There is a good deal of repetition in the lyrical lines but, once you get into the groove, the music is strong enough to get you past that."