Shelby Lynne’s name speaks for itself. Or at least it ought to. With more than a dozen stellar albums under her belt, a Grammy Award on her mantle, a famous sister in her corner and a harrowing backstory straight out of a movie, the golden-voiced singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s name should be a household word. Thankfully, she seems less concerned with that than with making compelling music and staying true to herself. She accomplishes both of those once again on her 14th studio release and first album of original songs in five years. Somewhere between a true solo outing — she plays most of the instruments here — and the soundtrack to a film in which she stars, the self-titled Shelby Lynne features a set of soulful, smouldering late-night numbers about love, longing and heartbreak. Some of them were recorded live during filming, which gives them a rougher, live-performance feel than the more polished studio efforts. But even if the album is something of a mixed bag of sounds, sources and styles, it’s always good to have Lynne back in action. And speaking for herself.
THE PRESS RELEASE: “Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Shelby Lynne returns with Shelby Lynne, her first solo album since 2015. Shelby Lynne finds the acclaimed artist laying herself bare in both her performances and in the untraditional recording methods, making this the most unique album of her celebrated career. The genesis of Shelby Lynne came from Lynne’s collaboration with lyricist/director/screenwriter Cynthia Mort to film When We Kill The Creators. The film stars Lynne as a deeply conflicted artist struggling at the intersection of art and commerce. The sparse, deep album highlights the push-and-pull nature of love, with Lynne challenging and ultimately succumbing to it. Lynne claims, “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.” Lynne notes, “These are 11 songs I love and want to share with the world. They were recorded in very different circumstances at various times but I think they go together. It’s time to not hide behind the game but put your work out as it is.” Although Lynne enlists keyboardists Benmont Tench, Mimi Friedman, Ed Roth and Billy Mitchell to play on the album, she is the key musician on most tracks. Lynne plays guitar, bass, drums, keyboards and even saxophone throughout the release. The album revels in its simplicity.”