Lyle Lovett Releases Emotional Single ’12th of June’ Ahead of His First New Album in a Decade

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Frederic Larson/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Today is a great day to be a fan of country music. Lyle Lovett released the lead single and title track from his first new album since 2012’s Release Me. “12th of June” sees the legendary Texas-based singer-songwriter reflecting on fatherhood and his own mortality. At the same time, the track is a nod to a long-held family tradition.

12th of June hits shelves and streaming on May 13th. The 11-track album features a handful of original songs alongside Lovett’s interpretations of standards by Nat King Cole and Dave Frishberg, according to American Songwriter.

In the new single, Lyle Lovett sings about his familial bonds and traditions. At the same time, the singer-songwriter reflects on both fatherhood and his own mortality.

Lyle became a father for the first time in 2017 at the age of 59. His wife, April Kimble, gave birth to twins – a boy and a girl – shortly after they wed that year. About the timing of the birth of his children, Lovett told Dr. Phil, “I am so grateful to find out what being a dad is like, even at the age of a grandad.”

Having kids at any age has a way of making a person think about the future. So, it’s no surprise that Lyle Lovett takes a somber tone when thinking about the future of his family in the new single.

Digging into Lyle Lovett’s New Single

Lyle Lovett played this song live long before he released it as a single. Back in July of 2019, Lovett and his Large Band played “12th of June” at the Avalon Ballroom in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Before getting into the song, Lyle talked about the family tradition that he wove into the lyrics. He said that his father’s family came to San Jacinto County, Texas, and have been on the “same piece of ground” since 1850.

In what is now Sam Houston National Forest, his family has a family cemetery with graves dating back to the late 1800s. Each generation takes turns maintaining the grounds and keeping them presentable.

So, when Lyle Lovett sings “By the branch in San Jacinto / Play for me a happy tune. / Know of all the days I loved / I loved best the 12th of June,” in the chorus of the new single, he’s singing about that cemetery.

Lyle Lovett and his wife are fairly private people. So, it’s hard to verify, but I believe that his twins were born on the 12th of June. The opening verse, “Before spring turned to summer / after night turned to day. / They were born a Monday morning / in days just after May,” combined with the last lines of the chorus leads me to believe that.

Whether that is the case or not, “12th of June” is at the same time deeply personal and incredibly relatable.

12th of June Tracklist

  1. Cookin’ at the Continental
  2. Pants Is Overrated
  3. Straighten Up and Fly Right
  4. Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to You
  5. Peel Me a Grape
  6. Her Loving Man
  7. 12th of June
  8. Pig Meat Man
  9. The Mocking Ones
  10. Are We Dancing
  11. On a Winters Morning

12th of June drops on May 13th. You can preorder it on CD, vinyl, or digital download right now on Lyle Lovett’s official website.