Smile

During the course of a career that long ago transcended the country format, Lyle Lovett has built quite a canon of material within the film industry.

During the course of a career that long ago transcended the country format, Lyle Lovett has built quite a canon of material within the film industry. Jazzy, lounge sounds are the prevailing mood here on such cuts as the stylish "Blue Skies" and a tight "Straighten Up and Fly Right" that swings with plenty of Lovett personality. "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You" is a languid delight, and the title cut is gorgeously sedated and impeccably produced by Don Was, Billy Williams, and Lovett. Later, "Mortat (Mack the Knife)" receives a subdued, barely contained treatment that slowly builds to a dead-on Mark Isham trumpet setpiece. Rock and soul make a stand with a spritely "What'd I Say" and Bob Seger's "Till It Shines" (with Keb' Mo'), and Lovett's duet with Randy Newman on the latter's "You've Got a Friend" from Toy Story holds up well. Lovett has always possessed a passionate knack for a gospel turn, exhibited here on "Pass Me Not" and "I'm a Soldier in the Army of the Lord." Top to bottom, this is pure class, and Lyle Lovett has some kinda style.—RW