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Living Large With Lyle Lovett In Chicago


Hey everyone, checking in from Chicago on the way to Margaritaville. If the beginning of our trip is a harbinger of things to come, we’re in for a ride. The Nashville contingent of the Coral Reefer Band had just arrived in Chicago and we were headed to the hotel. At a stop sign Peter noticed an old friend Russ Kunkel, one of the top drummers pounding the skins today, standing in the crosswalk.

Ticket and Pass to Lyle

We found out Russ was in town for a concert last night with Lyle Lovett and his Large Band. It turns out that the Lovett gang were staying at the same hotel and we gathered in the bar to catch up and exchange adventure stories. Lyle joined us and invited us to attend his concert that night, things just kept getting better.

We gathered in the lobby and took a limo to the Ravinia Festival Center in Highland Park, Illinois. I don’t know if you have ever seen Lyle Lovett live, but the best way I can describe it is that his live show has the raw honesty of an all night drive through Texas with an old friend… the truth gets brutal, funny, and so real that the paint peels right off of it.

Lyle and his Large Band

After the show we hung with the band backstage. Traveling with Jimmy we have the opportunity to meet some of the top musical talent alive and this Large Band was made up of some of the best in the business. Check them out:

Arnold McCuller –Long time singer with James Taylor (Shower the People), his singing reminded me of a gospel revival.

Sean Watkins – Guitar and Mandolin from Nickel Creek, brilliance and blaze on steel strings.

Russell Kunkel – Drums, who many of you may know as the producer for Banana Wind and Barometer Soup, as well as a producer team member for Hot Water and Beach House on the Moon. Russ lays down a groove so big and wide you could drive a Buick through it.

Leland Sklar – (My hero!) Bass from James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” days among many other legendary recordings! A true master of efficiency.

Luke Bulla –Violin and Vocals. Incredible playing and singing!

Ray Herndon – On guitar a stunning tone and tasty licks!

Jim Cox – Piano; A sublime and powerful pianist who has played for Willie Nelson, Leonard Cohen, Alison Krauss

Buck Reid – Steel Guitar Lightening fast Steel Licks!

John Hagen on Cello did an avant garde (wild) solo on “Can’t Resist It”.  Unbelievable.

If you have an opportunity to catch a show on this tour, don’t miss it. A moment that blew us away was after the meet and greet. We needed to head back to the hotel and didn’t want to bother Lyle who was engaged with many friends. As we walked off down the hall we heard someone running behind us. We turned around and saw Lyle Lovett coming to say goodbye and send his best with the Coral Reefer Band. How cool is that? Lyle is 100% class in my book!

Russ and Reefers at Ravinia

I’ve got to run now, it’s lobby call time for our trip to Alpine Valley for tonight’s concert, so, I look forward to seeing you all tonight. Check back in with me tomorrow and I’ll share some fun info about tonight’s show and some fine eating in Chi Town.


Uncle Jim

By content
Posted at 3:25 PM7:22 PM
August 25, 2012