Friday, May 13, 2022

Lyle Lovett released 12th of June, his first album in ten years

12th of June

Lyle Lovett

Released: May 13, 2022

Peak: -- US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU

Sales (in millions): --

Genre: alt-country/Americana


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

  1. Cookin’ at the Continental [4:14]
  2. Pants Is Overrated [4:07] (4/22/22, --)
  3. Straighten Up and Fly Right [2:58]
  4. Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good to You [3:36]
  5. Peel Me a Grape [3:39]
  6. Her Loving Man [5:22]
  7. 12th of June [4:54] (3/21/22, --)
  8. Pig Meat Man [4:43]
  9. The Mocking Ones [3:42]
  10. Are We Dancing [2:36]
  11. On a Winter’s Morning [6:21]


3.884 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)

Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

For 35 years, Lyle Lovett “has been flummoxing genre purists” with “playfully engaging jazz, big band swing, western swing, folk, gospel, and blues.” PM “If he were coming up today, he’d likely be considered Americana.” WP His “musical menagerie” PM has been accompanied by “the absurdist and transgressive humor of lyrics” PM that “hewed close to the…[country] tradition or offered a playful dissonance, often doing both in the same song.” PM Add in “his oft-inscrutable deadpan and prematurely weathered visage” PM and it is quite the success story that he turned his “anti-Nashville sensibility into a viable business model,” PM “carving out a loyal niche following.” PM

12th of June, his first studio effort in a decade, offers “a little of everything in the singer-songwriter’s back catalog.” PM His previous album, 2012’s Release Me, was a contractually-obligated work for Curb Records. Since then, “he was more than happy to bide his time, stockpiling songs and waiting for the right deal to come along.” WP That deal came from Verve Records, home of jazz legends such as Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billie Holiday.

Much of the album was recorded in Nashville in the fall of 2019, but the release was delayed because of the pandemic. For the first time in more than 35 years, he found himself home for a solid two years instead of regularly touring with his 15-piece Large Band. It allowed for “uninterrupted time with his children, taking on parenting duties with April with virtually no outside help.” WP

The ten-year gap between releases “didn’t apply any rust to Lyle Lovett and his merry band of collaborators…Lovett has polished this amalgamation of styles to a near-flawless sheen.” PM “This record will remind listeners why Lyle is a national musical treasure.” AZ He “approached the album as a vehicle to reintroduce himself and his Large Band” AMG by mirroring earlier albums like Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. “It follows its blueprint to a tee” AMG but “it works, possibly because absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder: it’s simply a pleasure to hear a new Lyle Lovett album after ten years.” AMG

Like that album, June kicks off with “a hopping instrumental jump blues opener” AMG before moving into a rollicking, fun song with “a bit of mischief -- in this case,” AMG “the gospel=flecked wry humor of Pants Is Overrated,” PM “an observation he gleaned from watching his two toddlers cavort in their diapers.” AMG The “call-and-response song structure…has echoes of ‘Church’ from 1992’s Joshua Judges Ruth and seems to be a playful parable against conforming to conventions.” PM

He then settles “into astutely chosen jazz and blues standards” AMG which he’d released before. He first released Straighten Up and Fly Right in 1996 on the Dear God soundtrack. Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Been Good to You was recorded with Matt Rollings initially and released on the soundtrack for Kissing Jessica Stein in 2001. Peel Me a Grape was first released in 1999.

The latter two have been recorded here as “sublime duets with longtime vocal sparring partner Francine Reed.” AMG “Their mesh of vocal styles is kinetic, playful, and essential the body of work here and before.” PM She decided to retire in 2022 so these recordings serve as “a tribute to a vocalist who has been an integral part of Lovett’s music through the decades.” AMG

These songs are “punctuated by plaintive Texan balladeering and the occasional clever original.” AMGHer Loving Man embodies the deadpan seriousness with which Lovett has performed songs in the ‘traditional’ country music style of the late 1960s, but often with an unexpected twist. He sings that she (the subject of the narrator’s affection) is the ‘queen of know / K-N-O-W, I mean,’ thus upending our assumption of this being an ode to a recalcitrant lover until he spells it out for us.” PM

That song and Are We Dancing “are touching portraits of lived-in devotion that echo the bond he shares with April. (They've been together for 25 years, and married for the past five.) The Mocking Ones is a rumination on friendships and the ways that people grow apart over time.” WP There’s even “a love song to the simple pleasures of bacon (Pig Meat Man)” PM inspired by how much his son loves eating it. WP Overall, the album “reveals…subtle nods to shifting times, which is enough to make this a nourishing experience in addition to an outright good time.” AMG

“The emotional heart of this new album is” PM “the nakedly sincere title track,” AMG 12th of June, which “explores notions of fatherhood and tradition.” WP It refers to the day in 2017 when, just shy of the age of 60, Lovett became a first-time father. He says, “I’m so grateful to have had this experience at all…I always imagined having children…But I had absolutely no idea how much I would enjoy it.” WP He says of his kids, “These are the two most interesting people I’ve ever met.” WP

“This tender ballad opens with a gentle acoustic guitar in conversation with a rippling brook of piano notes.” PM “The song accounts for the beautiful fragility of this life,” PM reflecting on fatherhood and serving up images of “covered dish reunions where a Texas creek runs through a family cemetery, and the invoked voices of the departed who watch over us.” PM

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First posted 5/17/2022; last updated 5/20/2022.

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