In advance of his new record, Release Me, Lyle Lovett has a delighful chat with Garden & Gun‘s Matt Hendrickson, with the most notable bit from their conversation being Lovett’s reply to a question about college football. “Once an Aggie, always an Aggie,” he says, before adding:

But this whole business of them moving to the SEC, I’m just not in favor of it. It just doesn’t seem a team from Texas should be in a Southern conference.

Lovett also talks about the family farm in Klein (“if I used the w word around my uncle, he would laugh at me,” he says of working on it), Anderson Fair in Houston, and becoming pals with Willie Nelson (“let’s just say I’m very cautious about going on his bus”).

The Q&A ends on a particularly hilarious note involving Lovett’s personal rule not to eat Mexican food east of the Mississippi, which prompts Hendrickson to (unsuccessfully) take up for the Chicago chef Rick Bayless.

Release Me, which comes out on February 28, mainly features covers, including Lovett’s take on Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues,” Houston songwriter Eric Taylor’s “Understand You,” and a duet with Austin’s Kat Edmonson on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (which already came out on Lovett’s recent Songs for the Season EP).

In addition to the Lovett interview, Garden and Gun’s February/March issue contains an eight-page spread on Houston, as well as a half-dozen Texas entries on the magazine’s list of “The 50 Best Southern Bars.” They are: Houston’s Anvil Bar and Refuge (Cocktail Lounges); Austin’s Draught House Pub and Brewery (Dog-Friendly Bars);  Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar Saloon in Bandera (Honky-Tonks); the Driskill Bar in Austin (Hotel Bars); and Houston’s Under the Volanco (Writer’s Retreats).

Guy Martin’s introductory essay for the list also includes a paean to the nearly hundred-foot long oak bar at the Esquire Tavern in San Antonio:

Walking along it, you think it will stop because the Texas boys must eventually have run out of wood. But – like Texas as a place and Texans as a people – the Esquire’s bar doesn’t stop until it hits the river. Being at the Esquire is by defintion being “at” the bar.

Aside from the Lyle interview (and former TM contributor Pableaux Johnson’s cocktail recipes), the bulk of G&G‘s February/March issue is not yet available online, but it is available on newstands.