My fourth favorite album of 1992 is Lyle Lovett’s fourth studio album, Joshua Judges Ruth. This was the first new material released by Lovett since I’d discovered his jazz-blues-country masterpiece …and His Large Band.
Joshua Judges Ruth, cleverly named after three consecutive books of the Bible, strayed even further from Lovett’s country roots. The only true country tune here is ‘She’s Leaving Me Because She Really Wants To.’ Lovett’s deadpan humor isn’t on display here, either, as most of these songs deal with loss of love or life.
And His Large Band was the album that introduced me to Lyle Lovett, but Joshua Judges Ruth was the first of his albums released after I was already a fan. I find that those are usually important albums in an artist’s discography… two milestones that help shape my fandom.
For instance, if Lovett’s first new album had been a letdown, would my admiration for him have waned? I know I’ve been let down by the first new release of many an artist over the years. In Lovett’s case, no need to worry. Joshua Judges Ruth is as strong, if not stronger, than Large Band.