Shelby Lynne

Revelation Road
Everso Records
Shelby Lynne

Revelation Road comes from an artist who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it, and can come up with an end product that displays brilliantly the worth of the work put into it. This may be a country record ostensibly, but Alabama native Lynne, who has a musical and spiritual kinship with the late Dusty Springfield, is as much Muscle Shoals soul as anything else. As producer, songwriter, and musician, she achieves a perfect balance of all elements on a low-key, but intense, worthy follow up to her excellent 2010 release, Tears, Lies And Alibis.

Besides having a warm, dusky voice, Lynne writes mature, thoughtful country/soulful songs, each of which rings true and shares a heart-tugging quality while maintaining a distinctly individual character. On “I’ll Hold Your Head,” Lynne is a comforting Earth Mother; on “Lead Me Love,” a passionate, slightly damaged, but resilient romantic. She also has musical skills to burn. She plays every instrument on the record, and with only the credits to indicate she isn’t accompanied by the best session players. A guitar player since she was seven, she’s crafted a beautifully realized album built on a foundation of acoustic guitar playing as proportionally strong and just as smooth as a spider web. She keeps the arrangements and instrumentation simple. But the short guitar solo and gracing touches on “I Don’t Need A Reason To Cry,” the gut-string sorties on the title cut, and the fingerpicking on the heartbreak ballad “Toss It All Aside” typify the high quality of musicianship on the album.

By the time she closes with the enchanting lullaby “I Won’t Leave You,” it’s clear Lynne is an especially gifted artist for whom categorization is utterly irrelevant and ridiculously inadequate.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’12 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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