Lyle Lovett's Christmas EP "Release Me" is only truly jolly to a point. After all, The Girl with the Holiday Smile begins with Lovett storytelling, "I met a hooker at the grocery story." It's not the sort of thing that would fit in either It's A Wonderful Life or Miracle On 34th Street. However, in Lovett's twisted little world, prostitutes belong right alongside Christmas trees and mistletoe.
This short recorded effort is more than just a Pretty Woman Christmas, though. Lovett also sings a couple of sweet duets with Austin singer Kat Edmonson. One of these is the old cold weather favorite, Baby It's Cold Outside, the other is Christmastime Is Here, which is taken from the old Charlie Brown Christmas TV special.
Like all Lovett music, each of these three songs is played with topnotch country-jazz musicianship, underpinning the big-haired singer/songwriter's wry vocals. At just three songs in total, it's a mighty small glass of eggnog. Nevertheless, because the best things come in small packages, this is one wonderful tiny treat. Just as those misshapen play things, relegated to the Island of Misfit Toys in the Rudolph TV story, ultimately find a good home by program's end, Lyle Lovett has somehow made his hooker in The Girl With The Holiday Smile seem right at home in our modern mythical Christmas realm. Lovett's just sneaky like that.