Written by Jim Bille
Aug 17, 2008 at 08:00 PM
ImageHouston homeboy Lyle Lovett and his Large Band wrapped up their summer tour at the Woodlands last Sunday night with special guest Sam Bush sitting in. Lovett’s performance not only included his brand of country cool music but was also tinged with his Texas style Prairie Home Companion banter with the band and audience. Not surprisingly, Lovett knew quite a few members of the audience ranging from old school mates to family.

The Large Band appeared on stage around 8:30 following an excellent set from Texas swingers, Asleep at the Wheel.  Lyle’s band was a little larger then usual since it also included a full gospel choir from Houston that increased the stage population to almost thirty people.

The set was filled with most of Lovett’s better known songs including “If I had A Boat”, “ Long Tall Texan”, “Private Conversation” and” All Down Hill From Here”. The band was joined on stage by Asleep at the Wheels Ray Benson to help out on Lovett’s Texas anthem “That’s Right, You’re Not From Texas”. Benson’s improvised scat (“Gotta Lovett, Lyle Lovett’s from Texas too”) during the number was a blast.

Songs featuring the back up chorus took on a definite gospel flare. “I Will Rise Up” and “Church” were a couple of these numbers that had that good old gospel infusion. Even the most fervent agnostic non-believing heathen sinner would have been compelled to drop to their knees and babble in tongues after listening to this righteous group.

Mandolin master Sam Bush was on hand, lending his musical skills to most of the show. His featured number was “Same Ol’ River” a now Bush standard that was loaded up with his incredible mandolin solo work was nothing short of show stopping.

Other song’s from the near three-hour set included, “Up in Indiana”, “Don’t Cry a Tear”, “Make it Happy” and “South Texas Girl”.

I’m embarrassed to admit that with the exception of seeing Lyle sing the national anthem at an Astro’s game a number of years ago, that this was the first time I ever actually witnessed a live show by the country hipster. After Sunday’s performance I have no idea why I have waited so long to catch his act.

If you’re not a Lyleist by now you will be after seeing one of his live shows.