Lyle Lovett,John Hiatt

Thursday, June 30, at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center

Lyle Lovett emerged in the mid-'80s when, for a passing moment, Nashville invested as much in talent as looks.

Lovett's first eight singles broke country's Top 25, and he scored six straight gold records from the late '80s to late '90s. He's more than a quarter-century removed from the College Station front porch where he and Robert Earl Keen first honed their chops together, and while the attention is now less fervent, his skill is still estimable. Lovett leans primarily on country-folk and honky-tonk though he spans the spectrum of Americana and beyond into swing, jazz and pop. His touch has always been understated, allowing his narration to disappear into stories given a weathered, sepia tone by his parched twang. He operates like an amplifier hooked up to the heart, reiterating his longing and desire with a dash of dark humor.

Joining Lovett on stage to trade songs at this show is John Hiatt, whose strong impassioned baritone imbues his rootsy rock with a soulful quality. Initially a Nashville songwriter, success has always trailed Hiatt's critical reception. His tastes are as eclectic as Lovett's (if rockier), and his songs have been covered by everyone from Buddy Guy and Iggy Pop to Emmylou Harris and Mandy Moore.

 
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