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Natural Forces CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (19 Oct. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Humphead
  • ASIN: B002NX0NWM
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 153,191 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

BBC Review

Always more than a straight-ahead country artist, Lyle Lovett has also dabbled in gospel, jazz, folk, rock, pop and even acting. After the big band sound of 2007’s It’s Not Big It’s Large, this new record mostly returns him to relatively stripped-down country settings, on a well-judged mix of originals and covers. It’s the most satisfying record he’s made in many a year.

It’s a great irony that country songs don’t often deal with ‘the country’ itself, stereotypically being largely concerned with cheatin’, drinkin’ and ‘exes’ that live in Texas. But as its name suggests, Natural Forces is replete with images of the natural world, as well as plenty of artful song writing. Including one cheatin’ song. Which they do twice.

Shot through with a yearning to escape the city, the title track evokes the American landscape in a way that recalls Nanci Griffith’s take on Across the Great Divide. After the throwaway humour of the hoedown Farmer Brown/Chicken Reel and the upbeat Pantry, which uses food as extended metaphor for fidelity, there’s a long and often pastoral sequence of slower songs. The most striking of these is Eric Taylor’s majestic Whooping Crane, with its recurring image of an endangered bird as a poignant elegy for a lost America. Then there’s a waltzing rendition of Don Sanders’ evocative Bayou Song: “Following ‘coon tracks / To the edge of a sandbar / The shell of a clam”.

Other highlights include a warm, affectionate version of Townes van Zandt’s Loretta and the hilarious, razor-sharp observations of It’s Rock and Roll, a rumbustious co-write with fellow Texan Robert Earle Keen, which obviously draws heavily on experience.

Lovett’s band isn’t so large this time around, but features long-term collaborators Matt Rollings (piano), Viktor Krauss (bass), Sam Bush (mandolin), Stuart Duncan (fiddle) and Paul Franklin (steel guitar). The latter two work in gorgeous, melancholic tandem on several songs, most notably the slow waltz of Don’t You Think I Feel It Too. Lovett masterfully disguises his own obvious vocal limitations with a trademark quivering vibrato and little groans throughout. Natural Forces is a treat from start to finish. --Jon Lusk

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Androo TOP 500 REVIEWER on 26 Oct. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is an album mostly made up of songs by other songwriters including Townes Van Zandt and Vince Bell. There are a couple of originals though, like the excellent title track, and some co-written tunes, like the suggestive 'Choke My Chicken' and the bluegrass 'Keep it in Your Pantry'. If you've thought, like I have, that Lyle was running out of new ideas on the songwriting front recently, this can only be a good thing. And since he has the knack of making even a song you know well sound like something HE wrote, it generally is a good thing.
Take 'Sun and Moon and Stars' for instance. It took me a while to realise where I'd heard it before. Fans of Nanci Griffith will no doubt remember it from her 'Late Night Grand Hotel' album though it was written by Vince Bell. It suits Lyle just fine and reminds you he's actually a pretty good singer. Other songs, like 'Whooping Cranes' were made for Lyle's style of delivery, and anything by the iconic Townes Van Zandt is bound to fit him like a glove.
The two standout tracks for me are the title track and the superb 'Bohemia', which has a cool, jazzy, sassy groove to it. The sound on this album is a bit different to the sparse, spacious sound on some of his records by the way. It's more up front, more lively, more fun. Lyle, who barely raised his voice above a croak on the last album, sounds confident and strong on here.
So I'm liking this more than Lyle's recent output and rate it pretty highly. I do think I might soon tire of the repetitive 'Keep it in Your Pantry' (there's a second, better, acoustic version of this on the record too) and the joke may soon wear thin on 'Choke My Chicken' but on the whole I have few complaints.
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Format: Audio CD
It's probably not possible for Lyle Lovett to make a bad record. He has decades of experience, bags of talent and a superb band . As with Emmylou Harris one can buy a Lyle Lovett CD knowing it will invariably reach a high standard of musicianship, the unknown factor will be style and feeling of the album, not its quality.

This one is elegant and graceful and a wonderful, imaginative mixture of joyfulness and tenderness. Stand out songs are Whooping Crane, Sun and Moon and Stars and Natural Forces, which are wistfully elegaic and possibly some of the most beautifully crafted of his career(although picking any song by Lovett as being his " best " is darn near impossible)
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A great album , apart from the bizarre second track. What *was* LL thinking of?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 59 reviews
59 of 62 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best from one of my favorite artists! 22 Oct. 2009
By billmelater - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I own every album that Lyle Lovett has ever made, and I waited anxiously for this new release. Unfortunately, it's not his best work. There are still the ballads in his unique voice that grace every album, but they're not HIS songs. He's used other songwriters for some songs (not a problem on his "Step Inside This House" album) but on "Natural Fores" the choices seem a bit thin on emotional stirrings. Lyle is an amazing songwriter, and I prefer his touching words to almost anyone's. That being said.....the songs he did write on this album are ridiculously childish! Normally every album has a "quirky" or "fun" song or two, but they always tell a great story, albeit in a light-hearted way. The goofy songs he chose to put on this album are just...dumb. "Keep It In Your Pantry" is repetitive and nonsensical (though the acoustic version is the better of the two versions). "Farmer Brown", while a nice reel, is not my choice for labeling a "good Lyle Lovett song".

That being said, there is still his wonderful voice and style, and "Empty Blue Shoes" is up there with his best work. "It's Rock And Roll" was a great rockin' treat. This album earned 3 stars because it's Lyle Freakin' Lovett, and he's awesome. Not his best, but he's still better than almost anyone out there, so I'll purchase everything he puts up for sale!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another very solid effort 1 Nov. 2009
By S. Rosen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Lyle Lovett is one of the most consistent artists I can think of - I can't think of any misstep over his 20-year career. With that consistency comes a certain sameness in his work, but that's hardly a fault with work as solid as Natural Forces. This album mixes some self-written songs combined with covers of great texas songwriters. In this collection, the highlights are his covers of Townes Van Zandt's "Loretta" and Eric Taylor's "Whooping Crane."

I tend to enjoy Lovett's gospel-based songs best, and this is a fairly straight-forward country record, but it's a strong one. Recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tour de Force 16 Mar. 2014
By Mike H. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
One of Lyle Lovett's best - a great deal of variety, touching and quirkly lyrics, and Lovett's wonderful voice. Lovett definitely speaks his mind - from the whimsical "Pantry" (keep it in your pantry) to haunting title track, this is quickly becoming one of my favorite Lyle Lovett albums.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love that Lovett 17 May 2012
By Steve W - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Natural Forces is perhaps his best studio album since The Road to Ensenada. With lots of catchy songs including the title track and the fun FarmerBrown/Chicken Reel complete with chicken sounds to the thinly veiled food as a metaphor for sex song Pantry, there's plenty to make you smile and tap your feet. The Townes Van Zandt song Loretta showcases some beautiful harmonies between Lyle and acoustic guitar talent Keith Sewell. Additional backing instrumentalist Sam Bush and Stuart Duncan contribute some great bluegrass flavor to make for a delicious Texas country album. All that and Lyle's laid back vocals anchored by Russ Kunkel's solid drumming make this a real Natural Force to be reckoned with.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyle's Roots are Showing 9 Jan. 2012
By Richard E. Campbell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Every Lyle Lovett album is, at a minimum, good. Natural Forces is Great, and a great throwback to Lyle's Country roots. This was the only CD I had for a 4 hour car trip, so I listened to it 6 or 7 times straight; I REALLY heard this CD. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I LIKE albums (or books or movies) that take me back & forth between humor and seriousness. This album does that well. AND, the music itself is a great balance of County & R&R & blues. Outstanding
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