shelby lynne 2020 album cover photo by Amanda Demme

Shelby Lynne – Folk Radio Review

Shelby Lynne – Shelby Lynne

Thirty Tigers – 17 April 2019

Nothing seems to come easy for Shelby Lynne. Twelve years into her career, and already on her third record label, she won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Now, nineteen years farther down the road, she’s releasing the self-titled LP, Shelby Lynne. Instead of being a triumph of the will, the album is more a victory of the heart, illuminating how, despite our best intentions, we are ruled by feelings that we can’t control. As Shelby makes clear, “When love walks in there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. You can’t fight it, defy it, or deny it. Love decides.”

Part solo album, part recordings for a yet to be released movie project, Lynne plays most of the instruments on the record with occasional help from keyboardists Benmont Tench, Mimi Friedman, Ed Roth, and Billy Mitchell. Real without being raw, the album is a testament to the tenacity of Shelby Lynne. Drums, bass, guitar, and electric piano frame Strange Things, a minor-key message framed by the chorus, “Strange things go down when love hangs around.”

One of the rawest tracks on the album, Here I Am, is just Shelby, one piano, and one mike recording the whole thing for When We Kill The Creators, the film by Cynthia Mort. Unvarnished and emotionally exposed, Lynne sings, “It’s hard to dream in the light of day, hard to hide from what they say, and I know that deep in my heart that you’ll pray you’ll find me. Here I am.”

Exposing her soul for all the world to see, Shelby Lynne displays an amazing sense of bravery. She examines the inner dialogue of the soul in ways we don’t often get to hear. Don’t Believe In Love reveals a woman desperately trying to deny the feelings she has for a new love. “I can’t stop dreamin’ about you, I can stop wondering why. All the days are long and the nights are longer still.” Lynne explains, “As an artist, I don’t mind being naked. Everything is so fake, so manufactured these days. I want to get real. It’s the only way to communicate these days.”

As an album, and as a person, Shelby Lynne mines the depths of her consciousness to examine what is real in her relationships. The truth is on display. Listen and you can hear exactly how it plays out in her life, the good, the bad, the unexplainable.

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