Shelby Lynne

Perhaps Shelby Lynne should have called her new album Suits Herself. After two records defined in large part by the sonic stamps of the male megaproducers who helmed them--2000's I Am Shelby Lynne, with Bill Bottrell (known for his work with Sheryl Crow), and the next year's Love, Shelby, with Glen Ballard (known as the guy who turned Alanis Morissette into a jagged little pill)--the hot-tempered Nashville refugee has made a pair of low-key self-produced country-folk albums short on headphone flash but long on feeling and mood. Identity Crisis, from 2003, had better tunes (including one of the best I've ever heard about drunk dialing), but Suit Yourself emphasizes how comfortable Lynne's getting with the tools of her trade: The acoustic guitars in "Sleep" flutter as delicately as they do in the Beatles' "Blackbird"; she leaves so much air around the minimal bass-and-drums groove in "I Cry Everyday" that you can hear her inhale; "I Won't Die Alone"'s breezy jangle sounds as if it were line-dried. Indeed, the CD's charm is in its relaxed vibe. She begins opener "Go With It" with an off-the-cuff pep talk to her band, so when they nail the track's groove, it's doubly satisfying.


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