Sometimes when a musician is nearing the end of a disagreeable record contract, they’ll put out the inevitable greatest hits collection (maybe with a new song or two) or the obligatory Christmas album. Even though there are two holiday ditties on his latest record, Release Me, credit Lyle Lovett for instead putting together a great batch of covers to cap off his 26-year, 11 album career with Curb Records. Usually a master of subtlety, the image of a hogtied Lovett on the album’s cover provides insight into how much he wanted this phase of his recording career to be over.
However, as a performer, Lovett isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. A relentless touring machine, he makes his almost-yearly stop at Wolf Trap tonight. Playing with his five-piece Acoustic Group rather than his Large Band, we can expect fewer musicians but just as much sound. Lovett’s uncanny ability to bounce from country to blues to jazz to rock, coupled with his self-deprecating wit and Texas drawl, make him an unparalleled live performer.
This will be Lovett’s 21st show at the Filene Center, a yearly stop that his local fans have come to expect. Wolf Trap suits his easy-going nature and low-key performances perfectly; at past Wolf Trap shows Lovett has stated he likes to begin the show before dark and with no opening act so he can enjoy the beauty of the venue with the crowd. With a set list likely to push the show to over two hours, it will be a great night of acoustic music full of both covers from Release Me and material from Lovett’s sizeable – and always enjoyable – back catalog.