BEAVER CREEK — Lyle Lovett knows how lucky he is. Life has taught him that luck lives at the intersection of hard work and opportunity — and that, generally, you do your own work and help create your own opportunities.
“Truly, I’m just so thrilled to be able to do this,” Lovett said. “The variety of a music career, from writing to recording to putting the record together with the artwork and production to going out and playing, is so much fun for me. I feel very, very fortunate that I get to live my life doing things I love doing.”
Lyle Pearce Lovett was born Nov. 1, 1957, in Klein, Texas, near Houston. He has recorded 13 albums, released 21 singles and won four Grammy Awards — including Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Album.
“I’m still trying to figure out how to write a song,” he said.
He’s great at it because he works at it.
“There’s something about having a job and being able to make a living that makes you feel like a complete person in the world,” he said.
Ranching and romance
He has been bruised and battered by both ranching and romance and found that time and life heal most wounds.
He married Julia Roberts in 1993, just before a concert near Marion, Indiana, and just after a whirlwind three-week romance. They got unmarried, amicably, two years later.
In 2002, he was caught by a bull on his uncle’s ranch and slammed into a fence. His badly broken leg took six months to heal and he went back on the road.
“Life is all about engaging in relationships with people you meet along the way,” he told the Scotland Herald. “The opportunities that present themselves always amaze me. I really enjoy getting to be with smart people who are interested in what they’re doing. That’s really what I take away from all of it.”
Long Tall Texan
Lovett is a Texan to his very marrow, but not the loud ‘n’ proud cliche. He’s the son of William Pearce and Bernell Louise Lovett, who spent their careers with the Humble Oil Company as a marketing executive and training specialist, respectively. He was raised in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, attended Trinity Lutheran School and Texas A&M University, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in both German and journalism in 1980. It is not true that he and Robert Earl Keen were college roommates. However, they lived near each other in College Station, became good friends and wrote “The Front Porch Song” together.
He lives in Klein, the small town where he was raised, in the house his grandfather built in 1911. His mother and uncle live just across the field.
He still defines himself as an acoustic singer-songwriter, but his music encompasses elements of blues, jazz, gospel, Texas swing and, above all, country. Through 4 million records sold, Lovett remains unclassifiable cool.
“I get very excited about writing new songs and then hearing what it turns into as it evolves. I really do enjoy being able to present the song in different forms,” he said. “All the other stylistic aspects are qualities that get applied with hindsight, and often through other people’s perceptions. To me it’s very real, rather than sitting back and thinking, ‘Well, I’m a certain kind of artist.’”
His songs and his style are slightly understated. It wasn’t always that way. A little ridicule returned him to his Lutheran roots.
In his early 20s, he was playing Sunday nights at a hamburger joint when the owner, Searcy Bond, asked him if he’d lost a bet.
“I asked him what he meant, and he pointed at my shirt and suggested that I’d been forced to wear it as payment for a wager gone wrong. Why would anyone wear a shirt like that if they didn’t have to was his implication,” he said.
But that’s how you learn, he said.
“Ridicule and shame don’t get much of a chance in these sensitive times, which makes learning about how to dress that much more difficult,” he said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.