Lyle Lovett signed his original record deal with Curb Records in 1985, when he was a promising 28-year-old singer/songwriter. Now – after 10 studio albums, two compilation collections and a live record, multiple Grammy Awards, a Hollywood career in films such as Short Cuts and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story – Lovett is about to be a 54-year-old free agent. And he’s looking forward to it.
“I’m thinking about it all different ways,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I don’t know really how it’s gonna go, but I probably want to make my records myself and then figure out how to sell them after they’re made. [Curb’s] been great to me and they’ve given me my career, but I’m excited to see what’s next.”
Before moving into the next phase of his recording career, Lovett has one final album to deliver to Curb. It will be an all-covers album, featuring songs that have been part of his live catalogue since before his first deal. “I did some songs that I’ve played my whole career that I’ve never recorded,” he says, including a Jesse Winchester song he’s been playing since 1978 and the Townes Van Zandt song “White Freightliner Blues. “I also did a song by my friend Eric Taylor from Houston, one of his old songs that he doesn’t play anymore, a song called ‘Understand You’ he taught me back in those days as well.”
The album, due in February, is called Please Release Me, taken from a country classic that Lovett is including on the collection.