After touring for decades with his so-called Large Band, Lyle Lovett left his road musicians at home last January, hitting the highway instead with fellow roots icon Vince Gill. Over a week’s worth of acoustic shows, the pair swapped songs and stories without help from any sidemen. They’ll revisit that format in early 2016, thanks to a short, 13-city tour that will take the two frontmen across the lower southeast.
“I know Lyle won’t have a plan,” Gill says in a statement, “and I won’t either. What he plays will inspire me, and probably vice-versa. It’ll be like playing ping-pong. Whatever song he chooses to sing will inspire the next song that comes out of me.”
The stripped-down tour marks a change in direction for Gill and Lovett. This fall, Gill will hit the road with the Time Jumpers, a 10-piece supergroup of Nashville sidemen and western swing fanatics. Lovett, meanwhile, has swelled the lineup of his Large Band to 14 members, turning his usual tours into mammoth affairs requiring multiple tour busses, large stages and hefty amounts of backstage catering.
The setup of the second Songs and Stories Tour, on the other hand, is simple. Gill and Lovett will hit the stage together, both carrying acoustic guitars. Over the course of the evening, they’ll each take multiple turns at the mic, playing some songs alone and others as a duo. The mood will be light and loose, more aligned with the casual atmosphere of a songwriter’s round in Nashville than a typical concert.
“This will be two songwriters in the round,” Lyle affirms. “It’s informal, so there will be lots of ad-libbing. It will be like little snapshots of our experiences.”
Tour dates for the 2016 Songs and Stories Tour are:
February 17 – Montgomery, AL @ Montgomery Performing Arts Centre
February 18 – Huntsville, AL @ Von Braun Center Concert Hall