That’s Right, I’m Not From Texas

… but I did pay tuition there a decade or so ago.

Okay, that was a pointless aside, and not-very-artful way of saying that I didn’t watch a lick of Mrs. Heinz-Ketchup, Governor YEEEEAAAAGH!, or Senator Chappaquiddick last night. Instead, I got to enjoy a blissful evening at Atlanta’s Chastain Ampetheater hosted by the one and only Lyle Lovett (who, to the everlasting gratitude of his audience, remains blessedly apolitical in public).

Lovett’s shows are always a highlight of the summer concert season at Chastain, and this year was no exception. He’s stripped down the Large Band to an all-strings ensemble for this tour (two guitars, mandolin, violin, lap steel, cello and bass, plus drums and piano), dropping the horn section and most of the backup singers. The result is a leaner, more rootsy sound that emphasizes Lovett’s country and blues roots while maintaining a healthy dose of the jazz influences that make him such a unique perfomer and songwriter.

Personally, I love the sound a great horn section brings to much of Lovett’s music, and I have to say I preferred the 2003 set to the 2004, but these are quibbles. It was a marvelous evening, and nobody on stage ever so much as blushed at the thought of hitting a wrong note.

As has become the standard for Lovett’s local appearances, the show was stolen by Atlanta’s own queen of the blues, the luminous Francine Reed. It only took one song with Reed on backing vocals for my friends to say, “Now we know why you keep telling us to go see her!” Reed’s a gem, and a great performer; if you ever see her name on a marquee, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket.

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11 Responses to “That’s Right, I’m Not From Texas”

  1. Greg_Y Says:

    I love to hear Francine sing Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues on Lyles live CD. This is a terrific song. I have every CD Lyle has put out but I have never been to a show. I definitely need to change this.

  2. Drew Says:

    No way, you went to Texas? Yet another reason to like this blog.

    Hook’Em!

  3. Will Collier Says:

    Grad school, ’92-93. Still love Austin.

  4. rick Says:

    saw Lyle at the Fox a couple of years ago when he had the fiddle player who’s name escapes me. great show. took a couple of friends who hadn’t listened to him much. they came away true believers. Francine sings at Fuzzy’s a lot when she’s not on tour. It’s a Cajun place on Druid Hills close to where the wife works. she’s playing there this weekend. she stayed with some friends of ours in Maine when she toured with Willie when he was promoting his blues album a while back. she not only sings Wild Women, she lives it to a degree.
    wish I knew that Lyle was gonna be at Chastian last night. gotta get out of the house more often. Francine sometimes has a piano guy named Bob Page who lives here in Atlanta who’s real good. plays a lot of NOLA style tunes. he played at Howard’s deli last St. Patrick’s day.

  5. John Lanius Says:

    Small world. I got my B.A. there in 1991. Hook ’em.

    (P.S. — Off topic, but you or Stephen should check out my Reagan tribute, which contains mp3s of the Great Communicator from 1961 opposing Medicare).

  6. Rob Says:

    Chastain is a great place to see a show, especially a low-key artist like Lyle. The only problem is it’s a no-smoking venue which also happens to be OUTDOORS. Sheesh.

  7. Yehudit Says:

    Grad school, ’92-93. Still love Austin.

    We were there at the same time. I moved to Austin in 92 and left in 2002.

    If you love Austin, check out this blog. It’ll make you sooooo homesick.

  8. Drew Says:

    I earned my Bachelor of Journalism in 99, been here ever since.

  9. TS Garp Says:

    Lyle Lovett rules. Anyone who hasn’t seen him should do so – guaranteed they will love the show. And while domestically apolitical, I am sure he hates the French.

  10. Mark Says:

    My only Lyle show was at the MSC Basement at Texas A&M early in the Spring 1981 semester. He was solo then, the opening act for some loser named Arnie Bray (?). And, oh yeah, the audience consisted of ten, maybe twelve, people. Ever the trooper, he put on a good show.

    The highlight of his set was a bizarre ramble about Dale Evans (Roy’s wife) as a prelude to the song “If I had a Boat”. Hilarious stuff.

  11. buzz Says:

    A friend of mine in Ohio is his cousin. She got us tickets and backstage passes for a show in Columbus. Great show, and he comes off like anyone else in person. Real nice guy.

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