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
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.