Lloyd was half of the country-pop duo Foster and Lloyd, and his country credentials are pristine. He was Rhett Miller before there was a Rhett Miller, exploring the melodic world where pop and country coexist. Consider, for example, Foster and Lloyd's "Texas in 1880," or "What Do You Want from Me This Time?".
A Kentucky boy, Lloyd resides in Nashville now, where he is the Stringed Instrument Curator at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Like any bandcrush, there's the general fascination with the career, but then also a more specific obsession with particular songs or phases or albums. For me, there are a couple of reasons to crush on Lloyd. One is his lush, gorgeous cover of "Step Inside" on Sing Hollies in Reverse. It's all over my ipod these days. You can hear a clip at Amazon: trust me.
Another is his terrific album from the mid-90's, Set to Pop. Even in that era of powerpop resurgence, the record stands out. A couple of reviews from Lloyd's site:
"Set to Pop is in that stratospheric big league with Zuma, Pet Sounds, and Revolver.. hit the random button and glow." David Sokol, Stereophile
"..he concocts a brand of pop that recalls the glory days of Squeeze and Big Star. His relentlessly tuneful writing is a joy for anyone who likes a song with lots of bang and just a touch of twang." Bob Cannon, Entertainment Weekly
"On Set to Pop, he keenly assimilates those British and American '60's,'70's and '80's pop and folk-rock influences and polishes them into a near flawless contemporary masterpiece for the '90s. David Sokol, CD Review
"It's filled with little gems like the bittersweet, catchy "A Beautiful Lie", the wacky "Trampoline" and the endearingly goofy "Chanelling the King". Lloyd artfully blends his obvious influences- Big Star, Dave Edmunds and The Beatles- with his own slightly left of center sensibilities." Melinda Newman, Billboard
"This is one of those pure-pop delights that seems to come along only once every couple of years." Randy Lewis, The Los Angeles Times
So obviously, right up our alley. I like "I Went Electric" and "In a Perfect World," particularly, but I'm head-over-heels for "Trampoline," the greatest song about manic depression ever written.
God bless our daily bread
Coffee and dramamine
God bless her ups and downs
God damn the trampoline
And there's this boingy-boingy jaw harp all over it and it's just terrific. The only video from the album is "Channeling the King."
Recently, Lloyd has been involved in a couple of really cool projects: The Climate Project (he played a songwriter's night for "The Man Who Shoulda’ Been President"), The Freedom Sings Program through the First Amendment Center, and, less politically, The Long Players, about whom I blogged here.
The Long Players are up again in a couple of weeks, playing Derek & the Dominoes' “Layla” at the Mercy Lounge in Nashville on July 27. Tip a glass for me, fellas! (Still hoping to catch them, but between Squeeze/FOW on August 3 and Shoes in Chi-town on August 10, I've spent my Stupid Irresponsible Music Budget for the summer.)