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It's Not Big It's Large

85 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 28, 2007
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  • Also available: a deluxe edition of It's Not Big It's Large, featuring a DVD with nearly an hour's worth of exclusive live performances and behind-the-scenes video of the recording sessions.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After a four year hiatus, multi-grammy winner Lyle Lovett is back with his Large Band with his new album, It's Not Big It's Large. Seamlessly incorporating aspects of country, gospel, jazz, & bluegrass musical genres has always been a forte of his, but never has it been so effortless than with this most recent outing with his Large Band.

On his sophomore effort for Lost Highway (and first release in four years), Lyle Lovett tests the label's free-spirited reputation with an eclectic slate of songs that range from fervent country swing through gospel-blues, though the core here finds the Texas singer-songwriter in a decidedly quiet, introspective mood. Anchored by a vibrant, swinging take on Lester Young's "Tickle Toe," his big band's first sprawling instrumental workout in many a year, Lovett quickly segues into the intriguing gospel-blues of the "I Will Rise Up/Ain't No More Cane" medley before shrewdly contemplating the backside of life and fame's inevitable grade on "All Downhill from Here" and the weary "This Traveling Around." The plaintive grace of "Don't Cry a Tear" and "The Alley Song" hauntingly blurs genre boundaries, while "South Texas Girl" does a little quiet Tex-Mex retrenchment. Lovett celebrates his 50th year here with a muse that's ever restless, yet still spry enough to relish the simple, varied joys of the buoyant "Up in Indiana" (also featured in a stripped-down acoustic version), the bluesy "No Big Deal," and the gospel-meets-carnal playfulness of "Make It Happy" before another fervent, elegiac version of "Ain't No More Cane" brings the album full-circle. --Jerry McCulley

1. Tickle Toe
2. I Will Rise Up / Ain't No More Cane
3. All Downhill
4. Don't Cry A Tear
5. South Texas Girl
6. This Traveling Around
7. Up In Indiana
8. The Alley Song
9. No Big Deal
10. Make It Happy
11. Ain't No More Cane
12. Up In Indiana (acoustic)

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 28, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: August 28, 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Curb Records / Lost Highway
  • ASIN: B000RIWAS0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,719 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Closer in sound to "Lyle Lovett and His Large Band" and "Joshua Judges Ruth" than the last couple of albums, Lovett is clearly in his comfort zone when it comes to mixing so many diverse styles from big band, elements of jazz, country and acoustic folkie ruminations on life, love and death. "It's Not Big It's Large" continues on in the vein of those other albums and is a terrific recordings with top notch songs.

Fans may want to be aware that there is also a deluxe edition with a DVD. This features performances of the songs woven into a documentary about the making of the album. If you're a huge Lovett fan you may want to pick this up vs. the regular CD version.

Opening with the a cover of Lester Young's "Tickle Toe" and moving quickly into the gospel tinged "I Will Rise Up/Ain't No More Cane" (the latter part of the medley is reprised at the end along with an acoustic performance of "Up in Indiana", just about every song from the jazzy sounding "No Big Deal" to "Don't Cry a Tear" opening with the moody sounds of steel and acoustic guitar can hold their own with his best material.

The witty "It's All Downhill" name checks his compatriots Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Guy Clark (they toured as part of a singer/songwriter package together). The name check is more than tip of the hat to these other soulful singer/songwriters as he also thanks them in the credits. There's no doubt that Lovett's peers gave him feedback on the songs he composed for this album. Clark himself makes a guest appearence on "South Texas Girl" one of the songs with the strongest country flavor.

While this album doesn't break any new ground in terms of the sound or style (clearly Lovett has found his niche sound and it works well for him), it's ultimately the quality of the songs themselves that sells "It's Not Big It's Large". Packaged in a digipak holder with a booklet featuring lyrics, this is a strong album from Lovett.
-Wayne Klein
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Terry Mathews on August 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Have just listened to one run through of the new CD, but it's incredible and even if you're new to Lyle's music, you'll fall under his impressive storytellling charms. He's in a class by himself ... and with good reason.

I'm partial to ALL DOWNHILL because Lovett talks about Joe Ely, John Hiatt and Guy Clark ... and about the surprise that success sometimes brings and the uncertainty every performer must deal with from time to time. He also tips his hat to his former neighbor, Robert Earl Keen, by putting AIN'T NO CANE, one of the songs they learned together back in the late 70s on the CD.

Clark opens and closes SOUTH TEXAS GIRL, a great waltz across Texas. Wow.

UP IN INDIANA will give you something to think about ... "Hell don't care and Heaven knows, I'm Up in Indiana Where the tall corn grows."

NO BIG DEAL is also vintage Lovett. It harkens back to his 1998 cover Willis Alan Ramsey's SLEEPWALKING. This one is a little bit country, a lot smooth jazz licks and just a barrel of fun.

Lyle takes a more somber approach to I WILL RISE UP and AIN'T NO MORE CANE, surrounding himself with some great gospel voices .... this is some powerful stuff.

DON'T CRY A TEAR is a tender goodbye to a loved one .... It begins with what sounds like an aboriginal didgeridoo, the deep reverberation of a single bass note .... But there are echos of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" throughout the song, so it must be a celebration of life, rather than a sad dirge ... lovely. Just lovely.

TICKLE TOE reminds me of the Tonight Show band, coming back after a commerical break. Happy notes. Very happy notes.

The final two cuts are acoustic versions of AIN'T NO MORE CANE and UP IN INDIANA ...
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. John on August 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
"It's Not Big It's Large" will be a breath of fresh air to any Lyle Lovett fan, starved for new music from the gifted Texan, who had been an insanely original blend of not quite country, not quite jazz and not quite blues. Lyle has not had a new release since 2003's "My Baby Don't Tolerate," his first release on the Lost Highway label. "Tolerate" was a solid, if unspectacular effort that managed to peak at #7 on the C&M charts largely because of the re-release of two earlier Lovett standards, "San Antonio Girl" and "The Truck Song" as well as the lively "Cute as a Bug."

Lovett had four definitive efforts from 1986 to 1996, "Pontiac," " Lyle Lovett and His Large Band," "Joshua Judges Ruth" and "The Road to Ensenada" before veering off in a different direction, one that I tolerated (no pun intended) because it was Lyle but a direction I did not like nearly as well. "It's Not Big" represents a return to that early 90's Lovett sound that I found to be so original and refreshing.
Lovett's Large Band was always tight, and this CD is no different.

Returning from "Ensenada" are the backbone of the Large Band, bass player Vicktor Krauss, guitarists Mitch Watkins and Dean Parks, cello player John Hagan, mandolin player Sam Bush, drummer Russ Kunkle, Matt Rollings on keys and the sweet harmonies of Sweet Pea Atkinson and Francine Reed. These performers have lost nothing and continue to form a sweet blend of blues, jazz and country that almost no one else I know can pull off.

This CD had me hooked from the opening riffs of Tickle Toe, which takes you back to the jazz influences of 1989's Lyle Lovett and His Large Band. "Make it Happy" will remind you of "Church" from the "Joshua" album.
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