Shelby Lynne has, for the better part of her career, pretty much made her own creative decisions -- from leaving the Nashville mainstream machine behind more than a decade ago to, more recently, splitting away from the major label world and forging out on her own. The eagerly anticipated Tears, Lies and Alibis -- due April 20 (Everso) -- will stand or fall on it's own merits, but from what we've heard so far the new self-produced album confirms what we've known for a while. Here is a stubbornly independent, enormously talented performer who's not afraid to raise a ruckus when necessary - in the studio and in the label executive suites - but who also has a unique, confident vision for herself and her music.
Authentic country music has always had an innate soulfulness, a bluesy luster that comes from ordinary lives and that binding with gospel and that odd junction of pop and R+B, a trait that Lynne explored on her superb 2008 tribute to Dusty Springfield. That special emotive aspect of the often sultry, humid swelter permeates many of her songs, that languid, southern heat that keeps things -- from R+B, to jazz inflected pop to laid back southern rock -- on a slow burn. Hew new self-penned songs such as the acoustic blues number "Old #7" or the lovely instant-standard "Alibi" have that special force that comes from an artist clearly "in charge" -- and smart enough to gather 'round some of the best studio players, including legendary Muscle Shoals sidemen Spooner Oldham and David Hood. Highly recommended.
Shelby Lynne - "Tears, Lies and Alibis" Album Sampler