She Is Shelby Lynne
Tim Jones catches up with the alt.country/pop-rock queen who should have the world at her feet
Shelby Lynne’s latest set, Suit Yourself, is her eighth studio outing, yet it wasn’t until her seventh, I Am, in 2000, that she won a Grammy Award for Best Newcomer! America was slow to wake up to the 38-year-old Virginia-born, Alabama-raised singer/guitarist’s talents, but even a cursory trawl through her back catalogue reveals a singer-songwriter of impressive depth.
Although Shelby Lynn Moore broke onto the Nashville scene through a pre-American Idol talent show, Nashville Now, in 1986, at the age of 18, by then she had been on the country circuit for six years and actually lived the life often bewailed by singers from country/Americana roots. When she was 17, her alcoholic, abusive, band-leader father had her locked in jail on trumped-up charges. Then, during an argument with his harmony-singer wife on their driveway, he shot his spouse dead and turned the gun on himself in front of his daughters.
Shelby was left to raise her younger sister alone and had a deep well of emotion on which to draw when it came to crafting her songs in later years. But on her initial breakthrough, she stuck to country standards that suited her dulcet contralto, and she so impressed George Jones that he requested a duet with her in 1988 (the US Top 50 If I Could Bottle This …
by Tim Jones
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- ALBUM REVIEW: Just A Little Lovin’ by Shelby Lynne