Lyle Lovett and his Large Band Deliver A Memorable Performance at Ravinia

Lyle Lovett, multi-Grammy Award winning contemporary singer-songwriter, delivered a memorable performance for his fans Friday night at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, IL. From the moment Lovett hit his first note, his fans let him know how much they cared, giving a standing ovation to open the show.

Lovett and his Large Band concentrated heavily on material from his recently released 2012 album entitled, “Release Me”, a collection of songs in various styles from Country, Americana, Western Swing to Pop. Highlighted tracks from the album included, “Release Me”, “White Boy Lost In The Blues” from Michael Franks, Isn’t That So” from Jesse Winchester, “Understand You”, “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man” from Chuck Berry, “One Way Girl”, “Dress Of Laces”, “Girl With The Holiday Smile”, “Night’s Lullaby”, and “White Freightliner Blues”. Lovett’s set also included, “Cute As A Bug”, “I Will Rise Up”, “Well, All Right” from Buddy Holly, “Penguins”, “Up In Indiana”, “L.A. County”, “Private Conversation”, “Anyhow, I Love You”, “Nobody Knows Me”, “If I Had A Boat”, “She’s No lady”, “North Dakota”, “That’s Right”, and “You’re Not From Texas”. Lovett also had two encores, “Church” and “Can’t Resist It”.

Lovett’s delivery consisted of a slow show pace and minimal banter tinged with humor…sometimes providing a story now and then to set-up his next song. Concertgoers looked mesmerized by Lovett’s performance, sometimes wanting more or just waiting for something more to happen. Crowd participation included standing ovations, toe-tapping, knee-slapping, finger-clicking, clapping and dancing.

Lovett’s Large Band, dressed in dark suits, featured Luke Bulla (Fiddle/Vocals), Arnold McCuller (Vocals), Jim Cox (Piano), Leland Sklar (Bass), Russ Kunkel (Drums), Richard “Buck” Read (Steel Guitar), Sean Watkins (Mandolin/Guitar/Vocals), and Ray Herndon (Guitar/Vocals). All were very proficient on their respective instruments and covered their solos well. Bulla, McCuller and Watkins were featured in their own solo vocal performances as well. Lovett went so far as to give Bulla a helping promotional hand by asking where concertgoers could purchase the song “Remember Well”. And, Bulla replied “via the net or at Ravinia in person”.

The night wasn’t without its technical difficulties though, Bulla’s fiddle could not be heard as the show opened and Lovett was seen constantly tuning his guitar between songs. But this night belonged to Lovett, clearly in control of the ebb and flow of his words and music as he left his fans fulfilled, happy and thankful they were in attendance at Ravinia Festival on this night.

Review by: Kelly Milionis

Photos by: Thomas Mayer