Cadogan Hall Review – The Financial Times

Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer, Cadogan Hall, London — voices like honey The sisters’ exquisite harmonies are second to none Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer © Jacob Blickenstaff Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) Save Save to myFT Michael Hann YESTERDAY 0 Shelby Lynne seems as though she might be the one who throws the conversational grenade into family dinners. As she stepped up to the microphone at Cadogan Hall to introduce a cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium”, her sister Allison Moorer warned that she had no idea what Lynne was going to say. Lynne didn’t hold back. “I don’t read reviews,” she said. “But some dude over here said we should have left this off the record, because he didn’t approve.” She paused. “I wonder if he’s got the ballbag to be here tonight.” If he did have the ballbag, he might have changed his mind. “Lithium” may have seemed out of place on the duo’s album Not Dark Yet — their first collaboration, after 23 albums between them — which was one original and nine tastefully chosen covers (songs by Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan and Jessi Colter alongside less expected artists: not just Nirvana, but also The Killers). Live, however, as Lynne and Moorer’s voices combined, it was a dark thrill. Their excellent three-piece band didn’t go anywhere near grunge — throughout the 90 minutes they provided perfect light and shade, accompaniment rather than extravagance — but they didn’t need to: the power was all in the singing. It’s surprising Lynne and Moorer have not recorded together before. Country’s two-part harmonies are one of music’s most exquisite sounds, and the pair’s voices blended like honey: the wordless harmonies that concluded their version of Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs” were rich enough to carpet an oligarch’s office. They played Not Dark Yet in its entirety, but it never dragged, and was not overshadowed when the pair concluded the set with a selection of their own songs, which turned into a bit of an Alabama medley, with Moorer’s “Alabama Song”, Lynne’s “Where I’m From” and then Moorer’s “Easy in the Summertime” all pondering the seemingly manifold attractions of their home state. It was proof their own writing is as robust as those they borrowed from. There was not a moment of the evening that was not a joy: if only Lynne and Moorer had thought to sing together in public before, instead of keeping it in the family. ★★★★★

Comments 3

  1. Michael Hahn’s review of the Cadogan Hall Review had me cheering. You know a critic truly understands an artist when his interpretation of Shelby Lynne’s and Alison Moorer’s poetic and musical genius is met in poetic kind. “Voices like honey” and especially “a dark thrill” are rich and apt metaphors for these gifted singer songwriters, whose haunting and authentic album will keep on resonating. As for the misguided “other” critic who alleged that “Lithium” was out of place, Shelby doffed the perfect gutsy and funny comeback. ‘Nough said!

  2. Reading the review, knowing Shelby for many years and loving her elements of surprise, Michael got the perfect magic these sisters provide.
    They just keep getting better, deeper ……….growth

  3. Have only had the pleasure of seeing Alison in The Horse Whisperer singing that lovely song that made you want Annie to leave he husband for Redford’s character Tom <3 .I have heard the sisters together on You Tube .Last night April 4th. at the MIM in Phoenix,Az. I experienced Shelby in person. She was awesome and her guitarist was amazing. I sure hope they come back and do a show together like she said maybe her and Alison would .Lovely women,artistically talented . Have loved their voices for a very long time.

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