Shelby Lynne - Suit Yourself

The beautiful under appreciated American singer songwriter Shelby Lynne has been releasing quality albums over the years to great critical acclaim. She may not have made much of a dent on the charts, but writing and performing great songs is Shelby's main priority. While a few of her albums have been accused of being over-produced she's gone back to basics on her latest release "Suit Yourself" and just like her last album it's produced by the great lady herself. From the black and white photo on the cover looking sultry and nonchalant, there's a healthy disregard for modern technology on this album. Unlike far too many performers and bands who rely too much on producers and studio enhancement for that so called perfect sound, Shelby strips down the sound dramatically with the voice and instrumentation being the main course of action.

"I Cry Everyday" has acoustic guitar, keyboards and the smoky natural sensual dulcet tones of Shelby Lynne. She's created a relaxed mood on these recordings and the influence of country, folk and blues is beautifully realized. The sparse arrangement and organic feel of musicians bonding together is so rare these days. It's raw, emotional, tough but tender with a series of handclaps and improvised jam adding to the magic.

Lynne's many things - a survivor, a fighter and a woman who had surrendered her heart to love many times, a recurring theme in her songwriting like on the track "Old Times Sake". A relationship song which fondly recalls an old boyfriend with affection, this heart-warming ballad has Shelby confessing "Here I stand like an open book". This is such a pure country song that it sounds like it ought to be a cover version or an old standard. The steel guitars and prolific lyrics are a tribute to the universal language of love with the the authentic piano uplifting to the listener, it gives the song a timeless quality. On "Johnny Met June" she comes across like a female Elvis and it makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. The story telling device of two lovers only needs and acoustic guitar and vocal with guts and determination to make its point. "Ice Tea" has the spirit of Patsy Cline running through it with sweet harmonies.

Seeking her heroes and heroines for inspiration she sounds wondrous and sings like it's her god given right to use her gifted voice, sharing her talent and thoughts with her fans. Shelby Lynne knows how to spin a yarn, craft a song and invest all of her passion and devotion into her songs. A wonderful album

Nicholas Paul Godkin

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