Lyle Lovett at California Center for the Arts

With sharp black suits, crisp white shirts and ties Lyle Lovett and his four piece band commanded the stage with excellent musical chops the other night in Escondido.

The five consummate musicians make it look so effortless smoothly passing the solo baton among them. The evening was all wood and metal strings: mandolin (Jeff White), dobro (Josh Swift), fiddle (Luke Bulla), stand up bass (Viktor Krauss) and plenty of acoustic guitars.

The band’s silky harmonies were in the spotlight at the beginning and end of the show, when Bulla, Lovett and White gathered around one microphone.

The evening’s highlights were especially evident at the beginning and end. “Pants is Overrated” and “Cowboy Man” were frontloaded and the show wound up with the triple punch of “If I Had a Boat,” “She’s No Lady” and “That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas).”

In between Lovett presented a generous offering from his impressive and deep songbook. His between song patter was humorous, as always.

The sartorial presentation onstage should not have surprised me; the first time I chatted with Lovett was in the mid 90s at a party thrown by Esquire magazine. He was incredibly polite and of nattily dressed. He’s come a long way from the first time I saw him, at his Los Angeles debut at the Roxy in the mid-1980s. He has lost none of his vocal range, none of his charming humility nor any of his dry humor. His soundtrack contributions and deep songbook are American treasures.

Lovett was effusive about his band, justifiably. They are each outstanding musicians, all with incredibly impressive resumes. Lovett was a gracious bandleader, frequently introducing his bandmates and extolling their virtues and awards.

(photos by Brad Auerbach)

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.