She has established herself as a country singer. She has flirted with success in the pop world. She has taken on a rock persona, channeling Dusty Springfield. And still, ten albums and over 20 years into her music career, Shelby Lynne is still one of the most unique voices in popular music today. The artist whose sixth album, I Am Shelby Lynne, won her a Best New Artist Grammy in 2001 is making her most personal statement yet on her latest recording, Tears, Lies, & Alibis, set to be released on April 20. Here Lynne deftly weaves country, soul, rock, blues, pop and folk influences to forge her own unique style.
Lynne first came to the public’s attention through a duet with George Jones in 1988. Regarded as a promising talent, she recorded three albums in as many years, landing several singles on the Country charts and winning the CMA’s Horizon Award (given to the year’s top emerging artist) in 1991. Tired of the Bonnie Raitt-esque sound she was forced to create, she got a new recording deal and emerged with 1993’s Temptation, an inspired romp through Bob Wills-style Western swing and big band jazz. The record suffered from poor distribution, and aside from a brief return to commercial country, Lynne was quiet for the rest of the decade.
She made a triumphant return to recording in 2000 with I Am Shelby Lynne, a focused roots-rock effort that was widely praised by fans and critics alike, winning a Grammy Award for Best New Artist (an irony she noted in her acceptance speech). Aside from a foray into slick pop that confused her fan base, she has remained true to form on recordings and in concert. Her feet firmly planted in the fertile ground where rock, country and soul meet, Lynne’s music is more vibrant and colorful than ever.