Lyle Lovett on How His 4-Year-Old Twins Inspired His New Song and (Maybe?) Predicted the Pandemic

The Texas Grammy winner is releasing his new album, 12th of June, and touring nationally

lyle lovett publicity images 2021
Lyle Lovett, whose new album, 12th of June, is out May 13. Photo: Jorge Mandujano

Lyle Lovett may have prophesied the pandemic. Unintentionally, of course.

The Texas singer-songwriter, whose new album, 12th of June, is out Friday, wrote the album's second single, "Pants Is Overrated," just before much of the world would shift to head-and-shoulders Zoom dress codes. (This is a radical departure for a man who famously instructed listeners to "buy your pants just a little longer" in his 1996 hit "That's Right (You're Not From Texas).")

"I made [the song] before the pandemic," Lovett, 64, tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "I started singing one day as I was trying to convince my then 2-year-olds to put clothes on. And I just thought to myself, they probably have it right."

"That was the beginning of that song," he says, adding with a laugh, "I do think, though, that ... then the pandemic happened, right? I may have caused it, but I could have had some help."

The Grammy winner, who lives on his family homestead in East Texas with his wife, April Kimble, and their twins, roots his new album in a very specific place: home.

What is home to him?

"First, home is family," he says. "But in my case, home is this farm place [in east Texas] that my great-great-grandfather came to in the early 1850s. Home is keeping my family's place as intact as I can. And teaching my children about this place and their place in the family."

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Kimble and Lovett in 2014. Stefanie Keenan/Getty

After spending much of the past two years at home — "The pandemic allowed me more time with my children than I'd ever had before, and I'm grateful for that" — Lovett is now on a national tour in support of his new album, his 14th and his first in a decade.

"I did these livestreams during the pandemic," he says, "and people were appreciative, but the most consistent comment was, 'Can't wait 'til we can see you live again.' "

lyle lovette 12th of June album cover 2022
Lyle Lovett's new album (his 14th), 12th of June.

Lovett's own genre-bridging music — which blends elements of jazz, country, western swing, folk, gospel and blues — helps bring people together. It also explores life's many contradictions: In the album's title song, he sings about a creek alongside his home that his family calls "the branch," which simultaneously gives life and also houses a family cemetery.

"I have long thought it is our contradictions that make us interesting," he says. "No one is all one way or another."

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