Produced with exquisite balance, these ten self-penned songs reflect what Lynne’s learned about the studio process in her 20 years as a recording artist. Lynne cut the basic tracks at home in Rancho Mirage with Brian Harrison and her own band; she finished them in Nashville with help from some studio guests including Muscle Shoals legends Spooner Oldham and David Hood. Production is only one part of the equation, however, songs are quite another, and Lynne hadn’t written many since 2005’s Suit Yourself.
Only a little bit country Despite her time-toughened twang and tunes about loneliness, betrayal and the road, Shelby Lynne is country only by association. A Nashville veteran who made five industry albums in the 90s, she hit it big only after leaving town and is now the proud owner of her own label, with many styles at her command: gritty southern soul, grittier folk and blues and—very unexpectedly—power-pop. “Rains Came,” which opens her 11th album, Tears, Lies & Alibis, struts along like Cheap Trick gone acoustic, but sad-hearted laments like “Loser Dreamer” and “Home Sweet Home” prove her songwriting is as strong as her vocals.
Shelby Lynne’s breakthrough release I Am Shelby Lynne is one of my favorite dishwashing records. Maybe that sounds like a bad thing, but it’s actually a very high compliment. The album has a languorous quality that transports me away from the drudgery of the grease and the suds. It makes heartbreak sound beautiful, summer afternoons eternal, and dishwashing non-existent.
SHELBY LYNNE Tears, Lies & Alibis (EVERSO RECORDS) Rating: Shelby Lynne took a long time to connect with her muse. But when she finally did, and shouted it out in 2000 with the musical announcement I Am Shelby Lynne, she was answered with a Grammy. Though she had the audacity to point out the irony of winning Best New Artist after six albums, even she knew she had not hit her stride until releasing that disc.
Effortlessly convinces you she’s lived this stuff, and means every word. Nick Barraclough 2010 There’s melancholy underneath just about everything Shelby Lynne comes out with. Not surprising, considering the hard start she had in life. Melancholia, though, has been a valuable underpinning for many songwriters, and when mixed with a little wry humour, it’s very effective.