Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Texas country and western swing star Lyle Lovett to perform at Calvin Theatre


Four-time Grammy winner Lyle Lovett and His Acoustic Group will be making a pit stop at Northampton’s Calvin Theatre this Saturday.

The Texan musician and singer, who has been writing songs and performing since 1980, released his 14th album, “Release Me,” this past February. It is expected that he will perform several songs from his latest 14-track album.

Lovett has a superb anthology that spans not only several decades, but a multitude of music genres as well. While he flaunts a timeless cowboy persona, Lovett’s music is in no way limited to his Lone Star State. Lovett has proven himself a master of Texas country style, folk tunes and even swinging blues rhythms.

Over his career, Lovett has released 11 studio albums, two compilation albums, one live album recorded in Texas, as well as 22 singles. This generation’s youth may recognize his voice from the song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” from the first “Toy Story” film, which he sang in a duet with Randy Newman.

Whether he is performing solo with his guitar or with a big band orchestra behind him, Lovett has always been an alluring class act. While he started his career as a songwriter, he eventually signed a record deal in 1986 with MCA Records and released his debut album, “Lyle Lovett.” With this initiation, he was not only set apart musically, by way of incorporating a western swing sound and of course his melodically higher vocal range, but lyrically as well. With his former history as a songwriter, he emerged at full force with a unique sound and a strong, lyrical palette. Several of his songs from his first album made the Top 40 country music list.

Even though he’s worn and sung about his Stetson Hat, it was impossible, even in the late 1980s, to definitively label Lovett as solely a country music star. The incorporation of fiddles, bass, piano and saxophones featured throughout his body of work makes him incredibly dynamic and appreciated. Lovett truly encapsulates an unrivaled eclectic appeal. He’s noted Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt as his influences.

His second album, “Pontiac,” released in 1987, diverged completely from his first as he somewhat shed the hoedown themes from his debut album and employed a big band and renowned gospel singer Francine Reed to sing back up. From there, Lovett went on to form a third album in 1989, “Lyle Lovett and His Large Band,” which incorporated a much more jazzy rhythm. As his music has evolved, Lovett has lassoed a sort of cult following of music lovers from all across the spectrum, as it is certain he will never be tied to one genre.

Fast forward to today and Lovett is still swinging, and His Acoustic Group will accompany him this Saturday. Regardless of music preference, it’s always a musical rodeo when Lovett is in town.

The show begins Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Calvin Theatre.

Emily Felder can be reached at [email protected].

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