By Chris Willman
Updated October 14, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT
Michael Wilson

Lyle Lovett’s latest is something of a ? hybrid: Natural Forces is half self-penned material, leaning toward upbeat levity (if not outright comedy), and half an album of dead-serious ballads from his favorite Texas songwriters. The cover tunes — written by the likes of Townes Van Zandt, David Ball, and Vince Bell — are lovely and haunting. At the same time, you may wish Lovett hadn’t left all the lyrical heavy lifting to ? his Lone Star compatriots while he busied himself writing larks with hooks like ”I’m gonna choke my chicken all night long.” B

Download This: Listen to the song Sun and Moon and Stars at

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