Lyle Lovett may be one of the most misunderstood artists in the history of music. After graduating from Texas A&M with degrees in German and journalism (he also studied in Rothenburg, Germany), his musical career began in Mr. Gatti's, a pizza shop near school. A four-song demo tape led him to singing backup on Nanci Griffith's album, Once in a Very Blue Moon,
on which she also sang his "If I Were the Man (Woman) You Wanted." Lovett took it from there. Though his work nets high praise from critics, mainstream America has pretty much ignored the obvious genius behind that often criticized jagged smile and chaotic hairdo. Despite the lack of acceptance on the charts, Lovett continuously tours across the country, playing to sold-out crowds. While quirky is the word that's used most often to describe his persona, his performances are almost always astounding. You never know what you're going to get. If you're lucky, it will be the Large Band, a group of up to 18 musicians and vocalists, including horns and backup singers like Francine Reed. Should a smaller entourage accompany Lovett, you'll still get more than your money's worth. His performances include a bit of every type of music, from the jazzy Texas swing of "That's Right (You're Not From Texas)" to the slow, sexy "She's No Lady." Throw in the clever country song "Don't Touch My Hat" and Lovett's classic "If I Had a Boat," and you've got one hell of a repertoire. And be prepared to spend an evening with this Texas-born performer -- he's been known to hold court from the stage for two hours or better.