In the late 80s and throughout the 90s Lovett was known for crazy hair and ushering in the alt-country movement that Son Volt, Wilco and jam bands will take to its extremes throughout the 90s and 2000s. He has not put out a studio record since 2012, but he is back with 12th of June. In a way, it sounds like Lovett never left, which is fantastic.
I guess I see Lovett as a pioneer of alt – country in how he takes classic country structures / arrangements and gives them a modern singer songwriter twist. Much like John Prine, Lovett tells personal stories that people can relate to. One example is If I Had a Boat, which has your classic country slide guitar and percussion, but his vocal is within the singer songwriter vibe of the late 80s / early 90s. You can hear early Wilco in this track, which underlines his link to alt – country. 12th of June is a return to this country / singer songwriter style with acoustic guitar accented with some slide, piano and string notes. This simple stripped back arrangement acts as an excellent frame for Lovett’s vocal and an amazing bridge.
Musically, this track lands within the vast canyon between country and singer songwriter. However, the vocal is what really sets this track apart from the rest. Lovett sings about love, the birth of his children and his own mortality. This is a wistful track that is both comforting and personal. The bridge is really where this track shines. Lovett can’t quite hit the notes he did in the 90s, but his harmonising with his backing singers gives the track an emotional punch. The bridge acts as this wall of sound that envelopes you and is beautiful in its resonance.
12th of June is a song about how you hope your children grow up to be better than you. In a way, a parent’s job is to pass on what he or she can and beam with pride as their children outgrow them into amazing people in their own right. You love your children not because they are like you, but they are better. They are their own beautiful people in their own right. They teach you about life as much as you teach them. This is the first single from Lovett in a decade, but it feels like he never left. A beautiful song of life, love and growth.
Listen to 12th of June