Watch above, as Lyle Lovett and fiddler/back-up singer Luke Bulla go deep into Lovett’s back-catalog. The tripped-down performance was the beloved NPR series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which music is recorded live at the desk of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and then screened online.
As NPR’s Stephen Thompson wrote, Lovett, who, as of his last record, Release Me, is no longer signed to a record label and can therefore do as he pleases, came to them, not vice-versa, and he couldn’t have been easier to host:
He’s a one-time tabloid fixture who writes wry, bittersweet songs of longing, but Lovett in person is like a vortex into which stress and drama disappear. . . . Lovett not only showed up at NPR Music’s offices without an entourage, but also booked his Tiny Desk Concert himself, emailing us out of the blue to express his interest. (Our reply: “We would only agree to have you perform a Tiny Desk Concert if it’s under any conceivable circumstance.”)
Accompanied by Bulla, Lovett started out with “Cowboy Man,” the first track from his 1986 self-titled album, then followed that with “If You Were To Wake Up” and “Good Intentions” from 1987’s classic Pontiac. That record was when Lovett starting drifting towards the “Large Band,” making these performances particularly special.
And the chatter is as priceless as the tunes. “This…it’s kind of weird, right?” Lovett says to the assembled audience as he looks around the CD shelves and yes, the tiny (and jam-packed) desk.