Album Review

Shelby Lynne - I Am Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne - I Am Shelby Lynne

Sometime it's hard to be born with beauty and blessed with the voice of an angel. Ask Shelby Lynne. She came to Nashville at 18 itching to sing pure country music. Her voice caught the ear of George Jones, who immediately asked her to sing a duet with him, a song that probably represents the most memorable moment in her country career. After five albums with different producers, songwriters and musicians, Lynne finally abandoned the Nashville machine. During a retreat to her home state of Alabama, she plotted a new musical direction. Drawing on all of her influences, from country to pop to jazz to southern soul, Lynne has created something that is all hers, superior in both scope and execution to the fine debut of her sister, Allison Moorer. The songs here were all written or co-written by Lynne, providing her confident voice some material to match. The lush opener "Your Lies" gives way to the stripped-down Hi-era soul of "Leavin'" and the infectious pop soul of "Gotta Go Back". The modern sensibilities of producer Bill Bottrell (Sheryl Crow) combine with his pedal steel to create a unique down-home groove. Perhaps "Where I'm From" highlights Lynne's songwriting talent best. This song captures the timeless feel of The Band's best work as it celebrates her "Alabama frame of mind." When she sings, "I know that it might sound kind of simple, oh but it's mine, oh it's mine," it's at once a statement of purpose and a moment of peace. Pure "simple" genius.