Lyle Lovett The Road to Ensenada MCA MCD 11409 :Review

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No surprises here, just the usual reliable blend of jazz-tinged country with droll lyrics about one-eyed girls, stale marriages, and, in "Her First Mistake", the drawbacks of trying to appeal to a woman by appearing more (or less) sophisticated than you actually are. It's no joke, clearly: "She made me think so fast, I lost my mind," explains Lyle.

The relaxed Western swing of "Don't Touch My Hat" opens the album, with Lovett pondering the permanence of headgear compared with the transience of emotional attachments. He concludes that "my John B Stetson is my only friend". He may be right: much of the rest of the album mines the standard country vein of cracked relationships and romantic affiliations slipping into stasis - perhaps a reflection of his own situation.

The album is lightened somewhat by a couple of songs celebrating and satirising Lyle's home Lone Star state. That aside, The Road to Ensenada holds fewer surprises and slightly less enduring interest than its predecessor, the splendidly dry I Love Everybody.