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A 'Release,' then Lyle Lovett's on his own

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Lyle Lovett The Texas singer-songwriter's last album for Curb Records, 'Release Me,' is coming out Tuesday. It's an apt title for the singer-songwriter, who discusses his free agency with Pop & Hiss.

“Release Me" is Texas singer and songwriter Lyle Lovett's final album for his longtime label, Curb Records. It features cover songs of old country tunes as well as new material from the trenchant writer known both for his skewed sense of humor and his Brillo pad hair. Lovett, who was scheduled to play the “Late Show With David Letterman" on Monday, along with “The View" on Wednesday and “Morning Joe" on Friday, took some time out to discuss his new life as a free agent with Pop & Hiss.

Why the mix of originals and covers on the new record? Wouldn't your fans love an album of all new Lyle Lovett songs?

The reason I didn't have more originals is that I haven't written enough of my own songs that I like enough. I only wanted to put songs on this record that I was proud of.

You've been with one record company for more than a quarter century—how's it feel to be turning into a free agent at this point in your life?

That's why I made the point of calling the record “Release Me." It's a way of letting people know my job's going to change a little bit now. It's a new age, and the ability to be out there and really be on your own is greater than it's ever been.

You came along in the mid-'80s when left-of-center artists such as yourself scored major label record deals in Nashville—something that would never happen today.

Early on, Tony Brown at MCA Nashville allowed me to be myself. If you get to be yourself in life, and you're accepted as yourself, then your audience is great.

You've been critically lauded for your music throughout these last 25 years—anything you'd redo if given the chance?

There are people who say, “If I had my life to do over, I wouldn't change a thing," but I'd change a lot of things.

Such as?

I'm not foolish enough to list specific failings that I'd like to right, but there are lots. I couldn't be happier with the results, but I'd like there to have been less collateral and emotional damage.

How has songwriting changed over time for you?

Writing is difficult. Actually, I like to say that writing is easy; it's having a good idea to write about that's difficult. But it's really hard having something to say that means something.


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