Tuesday, March 31, 1992

Lyle Lovett released Joshua Judges Ruth

Joshua Judges Ruth

Lyle Lovett

Released: March 31, 1992

Peak: 57 US, 48 CN

Sales (in millions): 0.5 US

Genre: alt-country/Americana


Song Title (Writers) (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. I’ve Been to Memphis (1992? single, --)
  2. Church
  3. She’s Already Made Up Her Mind (1992 single, --)
  4. North Dakota (Lyle Lovett/Willis Alan Ramsey) (1993? single, --)
  5. You’ve Been So Good Up to Now (9/19/92, 36 AR)
  6. All My Love Is Gone
  7. Since the Last Time
  8. Baltimore
  9. Family Reserve
  10. She’s Leaving Me Because She Really Wants To
  11. Flyswatter/ Ice Water Blues (Monte Trenckmann’s Blues)
  12. She Makes Me Feel Good (1992 single, --)
All songs written by Lyle Lovett unless noted otherwise.

Total Running Time: 57:15


4.269 out of 5.00 (average of 15 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

With his elegantly drawled tenor and modulated sense of country, gospel, and R&B inflections, the Texan songwriter extends the larger ensemble settings and contrasting moods achieved with his preceding album, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band.” SS “While Lyle Lovett and His Large Band wasn’t a massive chart hit, it was successful enough to establish an audience for Lovett outside the boundaries of the country market, and 1992’s Joshua Judges Ruth found Lovett seemingly free to follow his muse wherever it cared to go.” AMG Incidentally, “the album's title is a pun made up of the names of three books that appear sequentially in the Old Testament: Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. WK “Leave it to the poker-faced Lovett to use a biblical joke to underline the thread of tangled relationships.” SS

Joshua Judges Ruth only bore the faintest glimmers of Lovett’s country leanings (notable exception: She’s Leaving Me Because She Really Wants To), and more surprisingly it suggested he was also moving away from the broad-shouldered jazz and blues accidents that dominated much of Pontiac and Large Band. Compared to his previous work, Joshua Judges Ruth sounds startlingly spare – producer and engineer George Massenburg brings a clear and keenly detailed sound to these sessions that allows all the details of the low-key arrangements to be heard, and She’s Already Made Up Her Mind, Baltimore,” AMG, one of his “atmospheric portraits of places and people,” SS, and Family Reserve seem to have been recorded with this in mind.” AMG

“While the album does not have one theme that binds all the songs, several tracks deal with ‘high concepts’ such as religion (Church) and death (‘Family Reserve’).” WK Overall, “the songs also reflect a shift toward more serious and introspective themes for Lovett.” AMG “Lovett’s renowned sense of humor and whimsy” WK “is conspicuous in its absence,” AMG “temporarily set aside in favor of reflective musings on heartbreak and loss.” WK The few exceptions are “the gospel-influenced ‘Church’ and the easygoing She Makes Me Feel Good.” AMG

Often his songs here acknowledge a “debt to other Lone Star songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, and Nanci Griffith. Yet his ease with frank rock elements, and an often urbane outlook, point up a musical kinship with L.A.'s folk-rock wing, notably Jackson Browne.” SSSS “While the craft of Joshua Judges Ruth ranks with the finest work of Lovett’s career, its spare and sober surfaces aren’t especially engaging, and it’s the sort of album fans are more likely to admire than embrace with pleasure.” AMG

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First posted 1/12/2010; last updated 5/18/2022.

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