Award-winning singer/songwriters Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt will bring nearly two decades of touring and songwriting to Athens tonight. The duo has crafted a show that not only features their musical and songwriting chops, but also gives insight into the stories behind the songs. The Post's J.W. Johnson recently spoke to Lovett about the tour, his influence and his memories of his time in college.
The Post: How has the tour been so far, and what is it like playing with John Hiatt every night?
Lyle Lovett: The tour has been really good. It's always fun to get to hang out with Hiatt because he's one of my favorite songwriters and musicians. To be on stage with just the two of us without a band, and be able to talk to him and ask him questions about his songs that I've always wanted to ask is great fun for me. It's just the two of us, and we take turns playing songs that we've written. It ends up being kind of a stream of consciousness set list, and no two nights are ever the same.
Post: How does your music fit with the style of folk music that is popular in Appalachian Ohio?
Lovett: My music is certainly influenced by what we think of as traditional American music and the music that came from Appalachia. It is always an interesting feeling to be in an area where you know a lot of your musical background came from. The narrative aspect of traditional music I think is an influence on all of us who have an acoustic guitar and write story songs.
Post: What memorable experiences do you have from your time at Texas A&M that have stuck with you?
Lovett: It always comes back to the same thing for me, and that's the people that I got to associate with. The people that I got to work with at The Battalion, the school paper, were really good writers, and many of them went on to really successful careers in journalism. I remember my editor on the city desk, and I just remember sitting down with him with my city council stories and every time he made my story better. It was a great experience to learn from somebody who was being generous and sharing what he knew rather than being competitive.
Post: Do you think your time as a journalist helped you with your songwriting?
Lovett: I think writing is writing. Obviously with music, you have the luxury of not necessarily having to be objective. If you like to write, it's addictive because you are always looking for the story. You are always looking for the essential elements in something that is happening right in front of you. I think that is what writing teaches you to do, and it's a good thing.