Free Lunch for Thursday, Feb. 27

Chattanooga, TN – Lyle Lovett's new album, Smile, was released on Feb. 25, and will be played at noon on Thursday as a part of WUTC's Free Lunch

Lyle Lovett is instantly recognizable, by both his voice and hair. His latest album, Smile, is a compilation of recent movie songs performed by Lyle and several guest artists.

His first original album, since the 1996 release of Road to Ensenada, is scheduled for release this September. But while he puts the final touches on the studio album, those fans eager for their Lyle fix will be pleased with Smile. Covers of songs like "Mack the Knife" (Quiz Show), and "Walking Tall" (Stuart Little), are suprisingly well produced . And his version of "You've Got a Friend in Me," (Toy Story) along with special guest, Randy Newman, is just plain fun.

Other songs include "Till It Shines," from the "Mumford" soundtrack, featuring special guest Keb' Mo', "What'd I Say" from "Where The Heart Is," and "Pass Me Not," with famed pop producer and jazz pianist, George Duke, from the movie "Leap of Faith."

For those listeners who've never had the opportunity to experience Lyle Lovett, Smile may be the perfect place to start. The songs on the album are somewhat familiar and they showcase Lovett's talent as a major player in modern country music.

It's obvious that Lyle's love for movies was one of the major influences on Smile. His acting experience is impressive, Lovett has appeared in such movies as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," "Ready to Wear," "The Opposite of Sex," and "Cookie's Fortune." He also composed music for "Dr. T. & The Woman" in 2000, and appeared in the 2001 release of "The New Guy."

But that isn't to say that Lovett's musical carreer has suffered. He's one the most cherished talents of our time, a winner of four Grammy's including the Best Country Album award for his 1996 release of Road to Ensenada. He's also known as one of the pioneers of the "New country" sound that began to develop in the mid-1980's.

A native of Klein, Texas, Lovett attended Texas A&M University and double majored in Journalism and German. His musical carreer began in the late 70's when he started playing local clubs and festivals, playing original music. While in graduate school, Lovett visited Europe and met Buffalo Wayne, a local country musician. He began touring with Wayne and gained valuable experience in the process. However, much of Lovett's success came in the early 80's when he returned to the United States.

Lovett is also known for his surprise marriage to actress, Julia Roberts, in 1993. The tabloids began poking fun at the marriage and Lovett's appearence, forcing him into a much larger public eye than he was used to being in.

"It's true that I did get the girl [Julia Roberts]," Lovett told the media. "But my grandfather always said, 'Even a blind chicken finds a few grains of corn now and then."

The marriage ended in divorce in 1995 and Lovett spent the rest of the year touring and working on his next album.

Smile, is sure to satisfy the casual audience, but Lovett's die-hard fans will have to wait until September for new material.

For more information on Lyle Lovett's new album, Smile,