Sunday, May 24, 2015

The day I discovered Lyle Lovett...

Last night, I was eating an incredibly spicy Indian styled meal with Bill and listening to my rather eclectic southern rock mix when a song by Lyle Lovett came on.  I remarked to Bill how much I like Lyle Lovett's music.  Everything from his quirky lyrics to the fusion of jazz, gospel, blues, rock, country, and Americana in his music is a turn on for me.

As the excellent tracks on Step Inside This House played, I remembered the very first time I ever heard him singing.  I was in the Peace Corps in Armenia.  The Mormon couple in my group, who lived in the capital city with me, had invited people over for a pot luck meal.  They played music on their cassette player.  I didn't pay much attention to the music until I heard the chorus of a song...

"Hallelujah!" it went.

My ears perked up and I listened closer.  The male singer had silky vocals and a disarmingly soulful style and really appealed to me.

"Who is this singing?" I asked the host, a bearded guy from Washington state.

"That's Lyle Lovett." the host said.

He and his wife had been Mormon missionaries before they were Peace Corps Volunteers and their travel experience had been very useful when our group was just arriving.  At the time, I didn't know much of anything about Mormonism and had no opinion about it one way or another.  I liked this couple very much.  They were (and surely still are) cool people.

I don't think I asked what the name of the song was, but I do know I kept listening.  When I was later back in the States, I started buying random Lyle Lovett albums until I finally found the one I was looking for.  The song is called "Since The Last Time" and it's on Lyle's 1992 album, Joshua Judges Ruth.  Before I finally stumbled on the right album, I had bought most of his others... and I found that I really liked his music a lot.

Lyle Lovett sings "Since The Last Time"...

Years later, I met Bill.  When I met him, he was a Mormon.  Not long after we started dating, he went inactive.  A few years after we married, he officially resigned from the LDS church.  He is now also a committed Lyle Lovett fan.  I introduced Bill to Lyle and a lot of other musicians he had never been exposed to.  His ex wife was more of a Shania Twain aficionado and used to chastise and berate him for listening to anything that wasn't mainstream.  She claimed he was trying to be "hip".  She encouraged him to listen to her more pedestrian musical selections.  He said she liked EnVogue and TLC... and pop country singers.

I'm not sure if Lyle Lovett's music is considered "hip" or not.  I think he's very cool, but I do remember a lot of snarky comments about his looks.  He has a very unconventional style and appearance, especially for a popular musician.  I think that's why I like him, though.  He's not a conformist; he's intelligent; he's very talented; and he's funny to boot!

A couple of nights ago, Bill and I were eating dinner that I cooked.  I made a pot of chili because it was cold outside and we had some stuff that needed to be eaten.  Bill was raving over my chili.  He loves it because I make it spicy.  I'm not actually a fan of spicy food myself, but I do make spicy chili.  I asked him if his ex was good at making chili.  He said her "thing" was fried chicken.

Then he told me about how he went to Arizona to see his kids at Christmas 2001.  She was shacking up with her now husband and Bill came over for dinner.  She waited on her husband hand and foot and made an elaborate (for her, anyway) sun dried tomato pasta dish.  Bill knew the whole thing was an act... He'd been married to her for almost ten years and this was her trying to impress him or even woo him back.  She seemed to be silently telling him that "all this" could be his if he'd just get over his "pride" and come back to the fold.

She didn't know he and I were dating.  In fact, after he came back from Arizona, he called her and told her he planned to propose to me.  That was when she said her current husband had proposed several times and now she could say "yes"... after she reminded Bill that marrying a non-Mormon and not getting me to convert would mean he'd suffer in the afterlife.  But he didn't fold to the pressure and conform to ex's expectations.  He ditched Mormonism and his ex wife for a less conventional life with me.  For that, he gets exposed to Lyle Lovett... and yesterday's outing.

I'm not sure if the story I've written has much, if anything, to do with my love for Lovett and his music.  I was a fan of his even before I met Bill.  I guess I was just thinking about how I heard Lyle the first time while visiting a LDS couple in Armenia and found Bill in a very unlikely place while he was LDS.

I have found that many ex Mormons have great taste in books and music.  A lot of them are smart, brave, and curious.  They are also, for sure, non-conformists.  I admire that, even though Bill's job has required him to be an expert conformist.  There's enough of him that isn't like the others that makes us very compatible.  So here's to many years of non conformity and listening to Lyle Lovett... and anyone else who rings our chimes.

This song alone is enough to make me love Lovett for life...  heard it for the first time at a concert in Germany back in 2009.  I don't think the locals got it.


  1. I ike Lyle Lovette. i also like Alison Krauss, Raim Marimloo, Josh groban to some degree Celtic Woman and Celtic Thunder, Green Day, Jimmy Buffett, Fun, Five for Fighting, the Bratlers, The Monkees, Pink (a little), Lady Gaga (a little),, Gavin Rossdale, Audra McDonald, and Fleetwood Mac..I'm not really a Cold Play fan.

    1. I think it's funny that Mormons introduced me to Lyle Lovett... and I was in Armenia of all places.

  2. There is certainly irony in it.


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