Fluid performances of cuts from Lyle Lovett’s last two discs highlight this half-hour showcase of the big-haired singer-songwriter, who is currently enjoying critical success with his first studio album in more than three years, “Joshua Judges Ruth” (MCA).
Lovett is also receiving some unexpected notoriety thanks to his role in this year’s buzz film, “The Player.”
Although Lovett’s comments preceding each performance offer generic explanations of his songwriting and life as a big-time recording artist, a confession that he “doesn’t have an obligation to tell the truth or make as much sense … as a journalist” stands out as a telling observation from a songwriter whose skill at weaving seemingly true-life melodramas is top-notch.
Crane and tracking shots abound, as if unnecessarily trying to ensure viewer interest by injecting a sense of movement into an otherwise static performer, whose brand of music involves more nuance than nervous energy.
Lovett’s sound is unique–an amalgamation of several influences from gospel to Texas swing, with songs like “Church” incorporating several of the genres into one tune. “North Dakota,” a ballad of the first order, rivals the storytelling skills of a Jackson Browne or the lyrical imagery of a Bernie Taupin, and should find favor among the Dockers-sporting set.