Neither will the fact that, by pure force of intellect, personality and humor, the Texas singer-songwriter is able to mold what can only charitably be called an odds-and-sods collection of leftovers and thematic left turns into something approaching a recommended purchase.
But, Lovett does. Due on February 28, Release Me is a frankly disjointed collection of genre-stumbling trackstaking in country, pop, jazz, bluegrass, holiday chestnuts, gospel and the blues. Yet the very unpredictable nature of this set seems to work in favor of the rail-thin king of quirk.
Listen as Lovett positively leaps out on the opening string-band hoedown Garfield's Blackberry Jam," downshifts into the twilight romanticism of Night's Lullaby," expertly duets with k.d. lang on the country-standard title track, turns Chuck Berry's Brown Eyed Handsome Man" into a comfy downhome promenade, swipes a groove from Stax on Jesse Winchester's Isn't That So," storms through Townes Van Zandt's White Freightliner Blues" like a truck driver with worn-down brake pads, settles into a finger-licking Delta groove for White Boy Lost in the Blues," then joins Austin native and former American Idol contestant Kat Edmonson for a winking take on Baby, It's Cold Outside."
Taken together, it doesn't make a bit of sense, of course. Perhaps Lovett and only Lovett, with his ten-gallon sense of sardonic melancholy, could somehow smooth those jagged transitions. As he heads off toward the wide open spaces of indie-dom, we figure that actually bodes well.