Rolling Stone.com- News of Shelby’s Album, Tour, Her Forthcoming Yahoo! Live Stream...
Rolling Stone.com is up with news of Shelby’s album, tour, her forthcoming Yahoo! live stream and a performance of “Down Here” taken from a recent visit to KCRW. Check it!
Shelby Lynne is currently in the middle of a U.S. tour during which she offers up every track – in sequence – of two of the most remarkable albums she has ever released. During the second portion of her show, the singer revisits I Am Shelby Lynne, the jazzy, soulful – and totally ballsy – 2000 LP that earned her a Best New Artist Grammy a full decade after her decidedly country debut. But before that, concertgoers will be treated to every song on I Can't Imagine, which was released May 5th on Rounder Records. Her thirteenth release since 1989, the LP combines the easygoing vibe of her current West Coast surroundings with dashes of the sometimes prickly relationship the singer-songwriter has had with her Alabama upbringing (when she's even bothered to look back on it, that is).
Fiercely independent and refreshingly opinionated, Lynne often presents her lyrics — and her thoughts on certain subjects — obliquely, reflecting her vulnerability as both an artist and a notoriously private person. However, with "Down Here," a particular standout from I Can't Imagine, Lynne's dismay at instances of discrimination and homophobia stems from personal observations throughout her childhood and spills out in bursts of anger and defiance by the time she gets to the not-so-subtle line, "Out in the country, out in the hills, out in the country, three-dollar bill." It's a tune that has, quite rightly, drawn comparisons to Neil Young's "Southern Man."
"I get to thinking about the South and how I felt when I was a little kid. Feeling, 'Wow, I am different. I feel it in my heart, and I know that I don't have anything to do with it. I'm being who I am and what I am," Lynne tells Rolling Stone Country of the song that also features the rich, plaintive voice of Clarence Greenwood (a/k/a Citizen Cope). "When you know that and you're eight or nine years old, you start going, 'Well, I have to start acting differently. Because it's obvious what I'm feeling is not really acceptable around here.' So you just start being and becoming who you are and hope and make the best of it. By the time you're an adult and you have a voice, an opinion and a way of life that's your own, you have to be secure in the fact of who you are. That's the whole goal with 'Down Here,' it's just saying you're not alone. So, I'm hoping that song can reach some little Southern child and they can go, 'Goddammit, she feels like I feel.'"
Although Lynne collaborates on a few of the LP's tracks with musicians Ben Peeler and Pete Donnelly, along with Canadian singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith, half of I Can't Imagine's tracks were solo writes.
"I know if I've got one or not; a writer knows, 'Oh I've got this,'" she explains of those tunes, which include "Down Here." "If you put your brain into it, you're just going to have a brain record and who the fuck wants that? I want to be feeling a lot, but not thinking any. That's why my records are such a mess. [Laughs] But I am not going in there without any thought other than to make a fucking stellar record. I don't know what the fuck it's going to be except I've got this song, so let's see what happens to it."
Lynne's tour reaches Nashville on Saturday, May 30th, followed by a stop in Atlanta on May 31st that fans can watch from the comfort of their own living rooms. Through a partnership with Yahoo and Live Nation, the Atlanta show will stream live online, starting at 8:00 p.m. ET this Sunday.
Shelby For Heil Microphones
A song dedicated to the folks at Heil... Made up on the fly!
NPR's All Things Considered Reviews "I Can't Imagine"
Please listen to this rave review of Shelby’s I Can’t Imagine that aired this afternoon on NPR’s All Things Considered.
The Reviews Are In
The Critics Love I Can’t Imagine
“I Can’t Imagine is Lynne's 13th full-length album and her first for Rounder Records, and is yet another dazzling showcase for her emotion-packed vocals and the richly textured storytelling rooted in the Southern tradition of her Alabama upbringing.”
“With I Can’t Imagine she’s hit on the right combination of inspiration, kindred spirits and setting – Dockside Studios in Louisiana bayou country – re-conjuring her dark, distinctly Southern magic.”
“Thoroughly satisfying, she's created a fresh and distinctive language out of these familiar sources, spinning tales of longing and fulfillment that never feel less than genuine.”
“I Can’t Imagine sounds fantastic. Rich with texture that compliments her elastic contralto, Lynne and band luxuriate amid songs she either wrote herself or co-wrote with collaborators including Ron Sexsmith and Pete Donnelly.”
“I Can’t Imagine, with its steel guitar puddles and elegant rhythms, is Nashville classic.” 9.2/10
“What ties the album’s various threads together is the songwriter's unguarded heart, expressed by her near iconic vocal prowess, and we've come to expect nothing less from Lynne. Confident, assured, and fiercely independent.”
“Universal, twangy soul, sung by a woman who may well be a national treasure – a potent record.”
“For her Rounder Records debut, and her 13th effort overall, Shelby Lynne reminds us why she is one of the most significant country artists of the past 15 years.”
“She's still Shelby Lynne, and she's only getting better.”
“This feisty Southern girl has the soul of Aretha Franklin, the blues of Bessie Smith and the cool swagger of Patti Smith… The 13th release is certainly not unlucky for Shelby Lynne’s ‘I Can’t Imagine.’ Her first with the respected Rounder Records is arguably her best since her Grammy-winning 1999 release ‘I Am Shelby Lynne.’”
“Lynne's powerful, husky alto is the star.”
“This album is lucky 13 for singer Shelby Lynne, someone who defies every convention and still finds a way to thrive. It is also her finest.”
“Fifteen years after Shelby Lynne’s breakthrough album I Am Shelby Lynne and 12 albums on, Lynne’s voice and songwriting remain two of the finest treasures of the world of country music for grownups.”
“After years of albums in which it felt like Lynne was searching – no bad thing, by any means – she’s once again hit on something that makes it feel like she’s arrived.” Alabama Sentinel -
“The great vocals, Grammy-worthy songwriting skills and the ability to shift easily between rock, soul, folk and country are still very much in evidence.”
“It’s Lynne at her finest—lyrical, honest, and oh boy, that voice.”
Shelby Lynne's latest her strongest album in years
In the 16 years since her brilliant breakthrough "I Am Shelby Lynne," the 46-year-old singer/songwriter has followed a fiercely independent path, making albums that are inspired, but nowhere nearly as accessible as "I Am."
Perhaps inspired by an excellent (and well worth hearing) reissue of that album last fall, Lynne has released "I Can't Imagine," her first for a large label since 2008.
It's also Lynne's strongest collection of songs in years and shows off her range with classic country, Dusty Springfield-esque soul and bluesy rock. Cult act Ron Sexsmith co-wrote the two best songs ("Love Is Strong," "Be in the Now") which suggests a full album of collaborations between the two would be tough to beat.