When Lyle Lovett introduces his band—and he always introduces his band, Large or small—he makes a point to cite the place each artist calls home.

Home—both a physical space and a metaphorical concept that includes people, space and time—plays formidably into Lovett’s new album 12th of June. His first new recording in a decade tells the stories of specific people in specific places and some operating on a different plane. And while he’s sung about cowboys and creeps, bird snarfing preachers and the guy who reads a newspaper over your shoulder, a sense of place is as important as the people who populate his songs.

“My songs are rarely fiction,” he says. “That’s how I approach my work. My songs are from my life. I am the character in these songs. I get to spend my life for the most part doing a job where I get to be myself.”

That has been a guiding principle for Lovett even before he announced his arrival with Lyle Lovett more than 35 years ago. Having studied journalism in college, he sharply draws his who and where. A sense of home and place have proven the base of operations for him to imagine a set of characters to operate. Lovett’s discography isn’t like a Robert Altman film. It’s like an Altman filmography, a collection of true fictions, akin to the happenings in the Yoknapatawpha of Faulkner or the Dublin of Joyce.

So it is that the title track of Lovett’s new album is informed by parenthood and place. It is also about death. Because life is so uncertain.

“12th of June” is also full of little spirals as it nudges forward. The song is a cosmic aberration: past, present and future rustle together. While being laid to rest, a father considers the wonder that is his family – immediate family, distant family, family present and family passed. If that sounds heavy, the harmonies on the chorus float like apparitions.

The family reserve is vast.

To some, pondering death in the face of new life could be a grim or counterintuitive pursuit. But with Lovett life, like music and like water, is both linear and cyclical and always new.

When he sings “by the branch at San Jacinto, play for me a happy tune,” he’s knowingly referencing a body of water close to his home in the Houston, Texas, area. As Lovett tells it when introducing the song, a little creek in San Jacinto County runs along an old family cemetery where the living and the dead still commune at least once a year for a family gathering with covered dishes and cross-generational connection.

“12th of June” is an instant classic from a lifelong student of songwriting.

The attributes that drew listeners decades ago are all present on Lovett’s 12th album. He says it’s “a collection that touches on everything I’ve done over these years.”

Lovett and his Large Band stretch their legs with the album’s first notes with “Cookin’ at the Continental,” a composition jazz great Horace Silver recorded when Lovett was just two years old, a nod to the music heard in his household growing up. Like a paper boat set loose in the San Jacinto, 12th of June—the album—cuts a smooth and distinctive path, bobbing through life and death and food, contemplation and humor – signatures that have informed Lovett’s songbook since he started writing songs in his native Klein, Texas, and in College Station, where he attended Texas A&M in the 1970s. He learned from writers who appreciated character, setting, economy of language. They did it all with ample melody, too.

On paper these musical pieces could seem ill-suited together, but Lovett has always been a knowing tailor, able to stitch together music styles that only felt disparate because radio formats told us they were different. On this album, a Nat King Cole standard nestles naturally with a Lovett original about pants. (Note: They’re overrated; listen to learn why.)

Maybe his is a strange mix, but not really when one sifts the soil and observes his roots. Consider a moment his mother, who traveled 30 miles south from their home in Klein to her job in Houston, only to return at day’s end to pick up her son and then return to the city again for guitar lessons. Houston can be as unforgiving as it is inspiring, a labyrinth of freeways and bayous with energy industry money and storied fine art institutions. It’s home to an epic annual rodeo and the artificial heart. Lovett’s music, like the city, is matter-of-fact about the contradictions people place upon it. “This album reflects the music I grew up around,” he says. “My music is like me: I live on land that belonged to my grandfather. I live next door to my mother. I think the music reflects where I’m from and who I am.”

After Willie Nelson left Nashville as an ugly duckling only to find his inner swan in Austin, Houston offered something different than the state’s oft-trumpeted “live music capitol of the world.” Houston was a proving ground for a generation of songwriters like Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Nanci Griffith, Eric Taylor, and pulled in other writers too square for Nashville’s peg holes, like the playfully poetic Steven Fromholz and the soulful Willie Alan Ramsey. A little club called Anderson Fair showed little interest in those who could mimic songs written by others. There, songwriters had to show up armed as though they were crashing a wedding. Find a way to tell ageless stories in a new way: That was the task, that was the test. Lovett’s bona fides are long past the approval stage. He impressed in that songwriter’s haven 40 years ago and has continued to do so since the release of Lyle Lovett in 1986, an album assured in its sound and vibe.

To this songbook Lovett adds “12th of June.” “Gee, Baby, Ain’t I Good to You” and “Straighten Up and Fly Right” will be familiar to fans, and both feature longtime featured vocalist Francine Reed. “Are We Dancing” cuts a classic figure like those old pop standards but is a new original.

The title of “Pig Meat Man” certainly hints at something a little lewd, befitting the blues and its tradition of double entendre. Alas, sometimes a sausage is just a sausage. “It’s about pork -- bacon and pork,” Lovett says. “Because I think bacon is that good. Bacon deserved its own song.”

But whether Lovett is singing about love or singing for a laugh, he always pulls listeners back home. Listen to “The Mocking Ones,” which is informed by longing years after certain friendships evaporate. And that title track: Its chorus has lingered for those who have seen Lovett live recently. Some may see a glum view of parenthood, framed through a funereal song. But in reality, it’s a tribute to parents before and children to come.

“To my father and my mother,” he sings, “And all our fathers long before/There are those who’ll walk above us/who’ll remember that we were/they will remember that we were.”

For more information, please contact Asha Goodman, Catherine Snead 615.320.7753 or Carla Sacks 212.741.1000 at Sacks & Co.