shelby lynne 2020 album cover photo by Amanda Demme

Shelby Lynne – No Depression Review

Artist: Shelby Lynne
Album: Shelby Lynne
Henry Carrigan

There’s a raw beauty, an exquisite vulnerability, and a defiant passion running through the songs on Shelby Lynne, and Lynne’s brilliant canniness in exploring the musical landscape of emotions pulls us into the songs so that we can dwell with her in their expansiveness.

The album opens with the torch song “Strange Thing,” with Lynne’s vocals floating lushly over languorous piano chords and shimmering guitar notes. Her vocals convey the aching need for a love that’s sure, affirming that strange things indeed happen when “love is in the room.”

“I Got You” celebrates the joys of possessing love with a soulful groove flowing from the strains of a B3 and Wurlitzer and transporting background vocals. “Revolving Broken Heart,” with its sparse beauty, captures the somnolence of walking through the shadows of a breakup, feeling broken and inconsolable: “I’m starting to embrace all my weaknesses / They’ve become my favorite acquaintances / All my friends don’t console me anymore.”

“Here I Am” opens with a Laura Nyro piano roll and recalls Nyro’s later work, her spiraling vocals and her full, cascading piano. It’s an acclamation of love and defiant presence. “Don’t Believe in Love” rocks along soulfully with guitars and organ floating straight out of Memphis or Muscle Shoals.

On her new album, Lynne evokes the sensuous and sublime moment of opening yourself to love and the often torturous pain of loving someone so much you lose yourself. The sonic spaciousness of these songs conjure the sweet pain of letting go, the languid bliss of hearts on fire for each other, and the passionate hope that love and light can overcome fear and darkness. Lynne’s capacious songwriting shimmers with an emotional richness that washes over us and invites us to feel the sadness or joy of the singer.

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