Monday, January 30, 2006

Chick-a-boom, chick-a-boom (don't you just Lovett?)

I've done a truly shameful job of updating this blog lately, which is particularly unfortunate in the wake of BloggerCon 2 a few weeks ago. Bad blogger! Bad blogger!

It's not like I have any shortage of things to write about it; far from it. I've got notes aplenty, gathering digital dust. No, time has been the bigger obstacle, as is so often the case. But if I'm ever going to catch up, I guess I've got to start somewhere...

I try to stick pretty closely to the theme of "musical obsessions" in these entries--not just the musical part, but the obsession, too. I mean, there's plenty of music out there that I like, even love, but I wouldn't say I'm obsessed with it. (Unless you count the sheer fact of being obsessed with music, per se, and I certainly do.) I started with the desire to chronicle my growing passion with Brazilian music in general, as I started to educate myself about it, and that's still probably the main focus of this blog, but I long ago decided to cover other sounds that I can't get out of my head.

Even so, Lyle Lovett wouldn't normally be the sort of guy I'd write about here. I mean, I've known and enjoyed a handful of his songs for years, but other than the one about the boat and the pony (which I do think is really great), I haven't found them running through my brain 24/7, and I have felt no great compulsion to obtain any of his albums, other than a dirt-cheap used copy of Joshua Judges Ruth long ago, which I listened to once or twice and then put away.

But when my friend Meg invited me to accompany her to Lovett's show at UB (part of a consistently great season at the Center for the Arts this year), I gladly volunteered my services. I'd seen the guy on Austin City Limits and similar shows, and knew the between-song patter woud be good, at the very least. Well, the concert was last night, and what a delight! Turns out he's one of those performers who has an incredibly sharp sense of how to structure and stage a show. Nothing flashy, just really smart and thoroughly entertaining. Probably two thirds of the songs were new to me, and they did sort of confirm my sense that I'll probably never be a completist collector (I mean, they are pretty similar, and that boat/pony one is the catchiest one)--but one thing I'd never noticed before was how effectively he writes for, and uses, his own voice. It's not a conventionally "pretty" or "good" one (in that hideous American Idol sense), which is fiiiiiine by me. Instead, like Leonard Cohen or Ben Gibbard or Dylan (the granddaddy of 'em all), Lovett knows how to turn the limitations of his singing voice into major assets. It's perfectly suited to the emotion behind the subjects he sings about.

And, as predicted, that between-song patter was mighty fine. Added bonus: seven-minute experimental cello solo!

Next up on the concert calendar: Luke Doucet at Nietzsche's, this Wednesday (Feb. 1). I've written about this guy here, after I saw him open for Kathleen Edwards last year, and I can't wait to see him as the main event.

(Bonus Doucet tip: haven't heard his latest album, BROKEN (and Other Rogue States, but I can tell you that of his first two, the live one, OUTLAWS, is far more representative of his talents than the studio one, ALOHA MANITOBA. There are samples of all three on his website, plus a music video or two and some extra songs.)


estarz said...

Aimee Mann is coming to UB. Will be a good show. Aimee is pretty good!

DAK said...

This is TGP. Since we got back from South Africa, we don't listen to anything but African music these days. Do you know about The Winds of Change, or Mafikizolo, or Bonga? If this stuff interests you I can send you a few examples. Is it comprehensible to you that "It's Hard to be a Pimp" could have won an Oscar tonight? I mean, it was the best song of the three, but...