Lyle Lovett (YGtCTO Music #91)

Step Inside This House

Song written by Guy Clark and performed by Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett is an enigma to me. This isn’t a problem. In fact, it may be what keeps me interested. I’m not talking about the occasional acting job or the high-profile marriage that ended a while ago. This isn’t about the song choices or subject matter (maybe a little bit about those things). I’m not confused by however he has been described in various pieces of celebrity journalism (which have pretty much come across as benign).

I mean that the music is an enigma to me because I can’t entirely appreciate my own response to it. The first time I heard one of Lovett’s recordings, I had to buy it. I wore out that tape. I acquired everything else that I could find. What’s so weird about that you might wonder? Anyone who has written this many blog entries about music has to be a little obsessive.

Other than some Johnny Cash and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, I didn’t really own any country. I liked it well enough, but it just didn’t fit with my self-perception. I wanted to be the person who listened to hard rock all the time and didn’t get a headache. My style choices ran very far away from cowboy boots. The best thing you could say about it was that I was never going to have the big-hat-no-cattle problem. (Let’s not discuss the Indiana Jones hat. I do have a big-hat-no-holy-grail problem.)

Lyle Lovett

I think I understand why I have latched onto his music so intensely. The songs that he writes capture a view of the world that fits fairly well with mine- wry, appreciative. I get joy from it all, but I think that may be the connection that any art allows with something bigger than ourselves. Perhaps it’s also the promise that I can keep on enjoying music when I have to moderate my intake of AC/DC.

When Lovett recorded an album of covers of his favorite songwriters, I was apprehensive. I assumed that he had good taste, but I liked the songs that he had written and it didn’t feel like there were enough of them. I was mistaken in my worrying.

Step Inside This House is on that short list of most beautiful songs that I have ever heard. Hell, it’s probably the top, especially Lovett’s performance. I mean, how absolutely magnificent is the entire set of covers.

Now, it’s twenty years on and an incredible amount has happened since I first heard this song. I must have felt like an old man then, in some tiny way, but I had no idea. Probably, we’re never too young to think about the past. We all want to wear our lives half so light with twice the meaning.

In retrospect, I should have stolen the name of this song for this blog series. Truth be told, these are my treasures that I have put on display. They don’t count for any more than the stories that they tell.

What’s it all about?

You’ve Got to Check This Out is a blog series about music, words, and all sorts of artistic matters. It started with an explanation. 29 more to go.

New additions to You’ve Got to Check This Out release regularly. Also, free humor, short works, and poetry post irregularly. Receive notifications on Facebook by friending or following Craig.

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