Van Wezel

Lyle Lovett plays at Van Wezel in Sarasota

People think of Lyle Lovett as a country or Americana artist, but a look at some of the selections on his latest album will indicate he defies such narrow categorization.

Besides Lovett's original songs, with their trademark bend of sardonic humor and heartfelt emotion, "Release Me" includes the 1944 Frank Loesser chestnut "Baby It's Cold Outside," the Chuck Berry rocker "Brown Eyed Handsome Man" and the classic pop title song.

Lovett's not bound by era or genre. He blends jazz with Texas swing, rock and soul music, and anything else that he can get his musical hands on -- but he has his own sense of style, taste and quality that runs through everything he does.

His albums are impeccable, and his concerts are even better.

Lovett will be in Sarasota this week, for a Friday concert at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Lovett likes to gives his backing musicians generic but descriptive names -- he used to perform with a group he called the Very Large Band - and his time he's touring with His Acoustic Group. So expect an unplugged evening, which doesn't mean there won't be plenty of excitement.

Tickets are selling fast, so if you can't make the Sarasota you can try to catch Lovett at 7 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 19, at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg. Tickets for that one range from $39 to $69. Call 727-892-5767 or go to

Details: 8 p.m. Oct. 17, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets: $47.80. Information: 941-953-3368,

--Marty Clear