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Lyle Lovett

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Lyle Lovett
Lyle Lovett during the 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival
Lyle Lovett during the 2005 Austin City Limits Music Festival
Background information
Birth nameLyle Pearce Lovett
Born (1957-11-01) November 1, 1957 (age 66)
Houston, Texas, U.S.
OriginKlein, Texas, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
  • piano
DiscographyLyle Lovett discography
Years active1980–present
  • (m. 1993; div. 1995)
  • April Kimble
    (m. 2017)

Lyle Pearce Lovett (born November 1, 1957)[6] is an American country singer, songwriter and actor. Active since 1980, he has recorded 14 albums and released 25 singles to date, including his highest entry, the number 10 chart hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Cowboy Man". Lovett has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Male Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Album.[7] His most recent album is 12th of June, released in 2022.

Early life[edit]

Lovett was born in Houston, Texas,[8][9][10] when his family lived in the nearby community of Klein. He is the son of William Pearce and Bernell Louise (née Klein) Lovett, a marketing executive and training specialist, respectively. He was raised in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.[11] Lovett attended Texas A&M University, where he received Bachelor of Arts degrees in both German and Journalism in 1980. In the early 1980s, Lovett often played solo acoustic sets at the small bars just off the A&M campus.


Lovett began his music career as a singer-songwriter. By the early 1980s, Lovett had already distinguished himself in the burgeoning Texas folk acoustic scene. He had performed in the New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival in 1980 and 1982.[12] An American singer, Buffalo Wayne, whom he had met in 1978 during a college trip to Germany, invited Lovett to play with him at the 1983 Schueberfouer in Luxembourg. One of the events at the funfair was an American musical tent. The owner of that event was a fan of the Phoenix, Arizona, house band J. David Sloan and the Rogues.[13] He invited the Rogues for the event, and Lovett was encouraged by band members Ray Herndon and Matt Rollings to sit in with the group,[14] which did some of his songs. They opened his eyes to what his songs could sound like with proper backing; Lovett had never sung with a band before.[13] Sloan and band member Billy Williams offered Lovett a deal on studio time, first day free. In 1984 Lovett took them up on the offer. After several stays in Arizona over that summer he recorded 18 songs.[15] The demo tape of the first four songs led to his first record deal;[16] ten of those songs, recorded with the Rogues, became Lovett's self-titled debut album.[17] He made many longtime contacts in Arizona during that time. Several of the Rogue players, Herndon, Matt McKenzie, Rollings, and Williams, went on to play in his band. Williams produced or co-produced several of his albums from 1987 to 2007. Through them he met Francine Reed, who began recording with him in 1985 and toured with him for decades.[18][19] In 2022, reliving his Phoenix connection:

It led to a demo tape, an album and now, this rolling Thanksgiving tour...It's all because of running into this band in Luxembourg. That's a long way to get to Phoenix from Texas. It's a lot shorter if you just do I–10[15]

He signed with MCA Records in 1986 and released his eponymous debut album. He sang harmony vocals on Nanci Griffith's The Last of the True Believers album (1986). While typically associated with the country genre, Lovett's compositions often incorporate folk, swing, blues, jazz and gospel music as well as more traditional country & western styling. He has won four Grammy Awards, including Best Country Album (1996 for The Road to Ensenada), Best Country Duo/Group with Vocal (1994 for "Blues For Dixie" with the Texas swing group Asleep at the Wheel), Best Pop Vocal Collaboration (1994 for "Funny How Time Slips Away" with Al Green) and Best Country Male Vocal (1989 for Lyle Lovett and His Large Band). In 1995, Lovett performed a duet of "You've Got a Friend in Me" with Randy Newman for Toy Story. He plays Collings acoustic guitars.[20]

Lyle Lovett performing on the Watson Stage at MerleFest in 2011, Wilkesboro, North Carolina

Lovett has acted in a number of films, notably four for director Robert Altman: The Player (1992), Short Cuts (1993), Prêt-à-Porter (1994), and Cookie's Fortune (1999). He also composed the score for the director's Dr. T & the Women (2000). Some of his other film roles include Bastard Out Of Carolina (1996), The New Guy (2002), Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007), and a humorous role in Angels Sing, a family Christmas movie (alongside fellow actors and musicians such as Harry Connick, Jr., Connie Britton, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson).[21] His television acting forays include guest roles on Mad About You and Castle, a recurring role on The Bridge (as Flagman, a lawyer), and appearances as himself on Dharma & Greg and Brothers & Sisters.

Mary Chapin Carpenter's 1992 song "I Feel Lucky" makes reference to Lovett, as does Bloodhound Gang's 1999 song "The Bad Touch", which includes the lyric, "and you'll Lovett just like Lyle."

Lovett was given an award called an "Esky" for Surest Thing in Esquire's 2006 Esky Music Awards in the April issue. The magazine said of Lovett: "The secret of Lyle Lovett's endurance comes down to the three C's: class, charisma and consistency... In the studio and on stage with his giant orchestra, he's spent two decades gracefully matching genuine songcraft with A-list musicianship".

In 2010, Lovett appeared on an episode of Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... that also featured John Prine and Ray LaMontagne.

In 2011, Lovett was named Texas State Artist Musician by the Texas Commission on the Arts.[22]

Lovett contributed a cover of Buddy Holly's "Well... All Right" for the tribute album Listen to Me: Buddy Holly, released on September 6, 2011.

On October 24, 2019, Lovett was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.

In 2022, he released his first album since 2012, 12th of June.

Personal life[edit]

Lovett performing at the Oregon Zoo, July 2016

Lovett married actress Julia Roberts after meeting her on the set of The Player. Following a three-week romance, they eloped and married in June 1993 in Marion, Indiana. In March 1995, they divorced after less than two years of marriage. People magazine reported that the breakup was caused by career demands.[23] They remained friends afterwards.[24]

On March 28, 2002, Lovett was trapped by a bull against a fence on his uncle's farm in Klein, Texas, before being pulled to safety. He fully recovered after six months from a badly broken leg, and he began touring again in summer 2003.

Lovett was conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the University of Houston on May 15, 2010, at its general commencement ceremony.[25][26] His mother was in the audience as her son was presented with an honorary doctorate from the same university from which she had received her bachelor's degree in 1960.[27] His father was also a graduate of the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture of the University of Houston.[25]

In 2015, Lovett received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Texas A&M University.

Lovett is also a horse enthusiast and co-owns and competes in reining competitions with world class Quarter Horse, Smart and Shiney.[28][29][30] In 2012, Lovett was inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.[31] In 2018, he was awarded the National Reining Horse Association Lifetime Achievement Award in the National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame.[32]





Year Title Role Notes
1983 Bill: On His Own Singer at Beach (TV movie)
1992 The Player Detective DeLongpre
1993 Short Cuts Andy Bitkower
1994 Prêt-à-Porter Clint Lammeraux
1995 Mad About You Lenny (TV series, episode "Mad About You: Part 2")
1996 Bastard Out of Carolina Wade
1997 Breast Men Research Scientist (TV movie)
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Road Person
1998 The Opposite of Sex Sheriff Carl Tippett
1999 Cookie's Fortune Manny Hood
1999 Penn & Teller's Sin City Spectacular Himself (episode #1.23)
1999 Mad About You Lenny (episode "The Final Frontier" Part 1)
2000 Dharma and Greg Himself (episode "The Trouble With Troubadours")
2002 Three Days of Rain Disc Jockey
2002 The New Guy Bear Harrison
2007 Brothers and Sisters Himself (episode "Something New")
2007 Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Himself
2008 The Open Road Peabody Bartender
2010 Castle Agent Westfield (episode "Close Encounters of the Murderous Kind")
2013 Angels Sing Griffin
2013–2014 The Bridge Monte P. Flagman (10 episodes)
2017 Life in Pieces Ned Gawler (TV series, episode "Facebook Fish Planner Backstage")
2020–2023 Blue Bloods Texas Ranger Waylon Gates (3 episodes)
2022–2023 Big Sky Tex (TV series, 3 episodes)





Year Honor Reference
2012 Inducted into the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame [35]

Grammy Awards[edit]

The Grammy Awards are awarded annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Lovett has won four awards from 17 nominations.[7]

Year Nominee / work Award Result
1989 "She's No Lady" Best Country Song Nominated
Pontiac Best Male Country Vocal Performance Nominated
1990 Lyle Lovett and His Large Band Won
1993 Joshua Judges Ruth Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Nominated
"Church" Best Music Video Nominated
1995 I Love Everybody Best Pop Album Nominated
"Funny How Time Slips Away" (with Al Green) Best Pop Collaboration Won
"Blues for Dixie" (with Asleep at the Wheel) Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal Won
1997 "Private Conversation" Best Male Country Vocal Performance Nominated
"Long Tall Texan" (with Randy Newman) Best Country Collaboration with Vocals Nominated
The Road to Ensenada Best Country Album Won
1999 Step Inside This House Best Contemporary Folk Album Nominated
2000 "That's Right (You're Not from Texas)" Best Male Country Vocal Performance Nominated
2002 "San Antonio Girl" Nominated
2004 "My Baby Don't Tolerate" Nominated
My Baby Don't Tolerate Best Country Album Nominated
2005 "In My Own Mind" Best Male Country Vocal Performance Nominated


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lyle Lovett Biography by Stephen Thomas Erlewine". AllMusic. Retrieved July 19, 2023.
  2. ^ Dansby, Andrew (August 18, 2016). "30 years since first album, Lyle Lovett is Americana success story". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved July 29, 2023.
  3. ^ "5 things to know about Lyle Lovett before he comes to town". The Virginian-Pilot. August 3, 2017. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Deming, Mark. "Joshua Judges Ruth Review". AllMusic. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (April 1, 1992). "Lyle Lovett: Joshua Judges Ruth (Curb/MCA)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved September 4, 2022.
  6. ^ Lyle Lovett Page at Allmusic – Lovett's Genre and Styles. Retrieved February 2, 2007
  7. ^ a b "Lyle Lovett". GRAMMY.com. June 4, 2019.
  8. ^ "Lyle Lovett – Musician". Visit Houston. Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau. 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2013. I was born at the Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX.
  9. ^ "Musician Recalls Early Connection to UH". University of Houston (University website). September 21, 2012. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013. I was born at Methodist [hospital] and never lived anywhere else but Houston.
  10. ^ "[No title]". Houstorian (Facebook page). James Glassman. November 1, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013. Mr. Lovett just DM'ed me that he was born in Methodist Hospital in the Medical Center.
  11. ^ "Lyle Lovett: 'My Baby Don't Tolerate'". Npr.org. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  12. ^ "Kerrville Folk Festival Finalist History", compiled by Doug Coppock (link Archived February 20, 2006, at the Wayback Machine)
  13. ^ a b Leatherman, Benjamin. "Mr. Lucky's Oral History: 55 Years of Wild Tales From Phoenix's Iconic Country Nightclub". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  14. ^ Coughlin, Kevin (August 2, 2016). "Lyle Lovett and His Band loom Large in Morristown | Morristown Green". Retrieved June 16, 2022.
  15. ^ a b Masley, Ed. "Lyle Lovett on his new album '12th of June' and how a Phoenix house band changed his life". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  16. ^ "How to Hire LYLE LOVETT – Booking Alt-Country Singer/Songwriters Music – Corporate Event Booking Agent". www.delafont.com. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  17. ^ "Arizona Country Roads". PHOENIX magazine. July 1, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2022.
  18. ^ "How Francine Reed became a Phoenix legend, from church radio to touring with Lyle Lovett". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved February 7, 2023.
  19. ^ "Rhythm and blues singer known for Lovett link to perform in Olin". October 5, 2011.
  20. ^ "Fretbase: Play Guitar Like Lyle Lovett". Archived from the original on October 9, 2008. Retrieved July 8, 2008.
  21. ^ "Angels Sing". IMDb. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  22. ^ "State Musician | Texas Commission on the Arts". Arts.texas.gov. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  23. ^ Schneider, Karen S. (April 10, 1995). "One Last Sad Song". People. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  24. ^ "Lyle Lovett goes where the love is". Heraldscotland.com. July 17, 2011. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Musician Recalls Early Connection to University of Houston". University of Houston. Archived from the original on May 19, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  26. ^ "The University of Houston to Graduate More Than 4,500 Students". University of Houston. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  27. ^ "Singer and songwriter Lyle Lovett received an honorary degree during the ceremony". Houston Chronicle. May 15, 2010. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  28. ^ Peters, Stephanie (December 23, 2014). "The Renaissance Cowboy of Texas". eqliving.com. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  29. ^ "Horse & Rider Q&A with Lyle Lovett". Horse & Rider. April 16, 2010. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  30. ^ Hudak, Joseph (August 27, 2014). "Hear Pat Green and Lyle Lovett's Ode to Texas Girls". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
  31. ^ "Inductees". Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  32. ^ "Dale Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award". National Reining Horse Association Hall of Fame. www.nrha.com. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  33. ^ "The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles Presents Much Ado About Nothing". Center Theatre Group. Archived from the original on December 29, 2010. Retrieved December 25, 2010.
  34. ^ a b "Lyle Lovett joining Helen Hunt in cast of 'Much Ado About Nothing'". Latimesblogs.latimes.com. December 2, 2010. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  35. ^ "Lyle Lovett". Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame. November 20, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2020.


External links[edit]

None recognized before
AMA Americana Trailblazer Award
Succeeded by