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Lyle Lovett's at the start of a new era

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Lyle Lovett concedes that hitting the road with John Hiatt for three weeks this month "obviously isn't really a strategy in terms of promoting the record" -- meanwhile "Release Me," which came out Feb. 28.

"I just enjoy working with John and hanging out with him so much, so we try to play together when our schedules like up," Lovett explains.

He'll be doing plenty of his own touring, meanwhile -- a summer's worth, he estimates -- to push "Release Me," which brings a close to an initial, and long, era of his career. It's his final album for Curb Records, Lovett's label home since self-title 1986 debut. And he wants to make clear it's a fond farewell.

"I'm only grateful for my relationship with my record company," says the Texas-born and based Lovett, 54. Leaving the label, he adds, is "just the record business. I don't have any bad feelings about my deal. MCA Nashville passed on me; it wasn't until...Curb took the very same project back to them that they said, 'OK, we'll do it.'

"I do appreciate all that. The relationship's been a good thing."

Lovett plans to give "Release Me," a mostly covers set with two songs he wrote, a good ride during the year. Meanwhile, he's "very excited" about moving forward, though he hasn't determined exactly what he'll do yet.

"I know I want to continue to write songs and to play -- I want to keep my job," he says with a laugh. "I haven't worked out any new business relationships. What I'd really like to do is be able to make my own records, then probably affiliate with someone for distribution.

"I still value greatly the capability of the major companies to get your product where it needs to go. So I have to figure out what's the right way to go for me, and where I'll feel the most comfortable."

Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Tickets are $59.50, $45 and $35. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www..livenation.com

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