There was a time when Lyle Lovett and His Large Band was an unsolvable riddle in the country-music world, seeing as though it featured a droll folk singer leading a band made up of Memphis horns, gospel singers and an unusually jazz-versed rhythm section. But in the twenty years since Lovett put the band together — he's used them off and on throughout the years — he has become a standard-bearer of wise, refined and playful country music. More important, these tunes always serve Lovett's unrivaled eye for detail and penchant for delivering deadpan emotional truisms. These have been a busy few years for the oft-laconic singer-songwriter: In an uncharacteristic fit of energy, he followed up 2007's It's Not Big It's Large with last year's Natural Forces, a folksy return to his Texan troubadour roots. Lovett and His Large Band return to St. Louis this week to test the dimensions of the Sheldon's tiny stage.
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