Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Shelby Lynne: I Am Shelby Lynne [Mercury, 2000]
Epistemologically, one tough cookie. A trailer-trash blonde as down-home-and-crazy as George Jones who cut five country albums on the strength of a voice that turned out to have nothing on her writing, Lynne radiates roots signifiers. Yet though her music avoids all shows of pomo dissociation, the harder you listen the more rootless her mix-and-match rock-etc. sounds. Even more than, speak of the devil, Garth Brooks, she's a creature of the recording industry and the smorgasbord-of-the-air it's laid out everywhere. Are the emotions she displays so pithily as synthetic in the end as her harmonica-with-strings or steel/slide guitar? Does that make them less real? Do she or her fans want to know? A-