Shelby Lynne, the marvelous country singer-songwriter, continues to produce masterworks such as her most recent release Tears, Lies, and Alibis. Yes, Lynne is a country artist and unfortunately that means many people who don't like the genre will immediately write her off as pure hokum without ever giving her music a listen. If you are one of them, shame on you. The country veteran has always transcended the genre with intelligent songwriting, moody and melodic vocals, and feistiness that is tempered with true emotions. The combination is what has always made her so endearing.
This is Lynne's very first self-produced and self-released album, a surprise when you consider how demanding she can be during recording sessions. Because the singer-songwriter can tell the difference between self-indulgence and what works in the studio she turned in a classy disc that ranks among her best releases. The arrangements are perfectly sparse yet she still manages to use a full palette of sounds that include acoustic and electric guitars, horns, woodwinds, dobros, banjos, synths, and B-3s. Both she and her band know how to bring out the best in each other.
Production aside, no album is successful without a good batch of songs and Lynne offers us a full disc's worth here. Standout tracks include the slow "Something To Be Said About Airstreams," a song about getting away from it all in "a rolling home made out of silver." The upbeat tempo of "Rains Came" belies it's theme about feeling depressed. Lynne says she is glad it's raining because the weather makes her feel less guilty about her current dour mood. "Why Didn't You Call Me" expresses her need for the man of her heart's desire. Other winners include "Loser Dreamer," "Alibi," and Family Tree."
As usual, except for 2008's Just A Little Lovin', a tribute to Dusty Springfield, Lynne wrote everything on the album. The two CDs prove she is equally comfortable interpreting the work of others as much as she is creating her own originals. It's a sign of a true artist.