Since his first album, in 1986, the Klein-born singer and actor, who is now 54, has been under contract to Curb Records, led by former California lieutenant governor Mike Curb. Now, with his fourteenth album, RELEASE ME, Lovett’s contract is finally up.
I suspected the title of the new CD might have more to do with the end of your deal with Curb than with the Ray Price hit. Seeing the cover [Lovett encircled by a lariat] clinched the deal.
It’s just kind of a joke. Curb Records has been great to me. Early on, MCA heard my tape. They passed on me. In those days Curb always affiliated with a major label, and it wasn’t until Curb brought the very same recording back to MCA that I got signed. So I owe my career to them. It’s a little smart-aleck, but I couldn’t resist.
There’s been a lot of change in the music industry. I expect you’ve been eyeing a lot of these people who have taken control of their own careers with envy?
No, not envy. Everybody’s career is different. In this new age of being able to talk to the whole world at once, the possibilities are staggering, really, to be able to do things yourself. But I’ve always enjoyed my relationship with the record company—especially in the early days, at MCA in Nashville, when I knew everybody that worked in the building. MCA in Los Angeles—same thing. That meant a lot to me, to feel a part of the team. So I don’t know if I want to be completely on my own. I haven’t figured out what I want to do next. But the possibilities are far greater than they have ever been.
There are only a couple of originals on the new album. The writing process seems to come slowly to you.
Yeah, I’m not the kind of writer that can wake up