Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Shelby Lynne

  • I Am Shelby Lynne [Mercury, 2000] A-
  • Epic Recordings [Lucky Dog, 2000] **
  • Love, Shelby [Island, 2001] Dud
  • Suit Yourself [Capitol, 2005] ***
  • Just a Little Lovin' [Lost Highway, 2008] ***
  • Tears, Lies, and Alibis [Everso, 2010] Dud

Consumer Guide Reviews:

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-

Epic Recordings [Lucky Dog, 2000]
As a young comer, she sounds most herself swinging the classics ("Lonely Weekends," "Don't Mind If I Do"). **

Love, Shelby [Island, 2001] Dud

Suit Yourself [Capitol, 2005]
"You do it do it do it do it just let go" ("Johnny Met June," "You're the Man"). ***

Just a Little Lovin' [Lost Highway, 2008]
She sings some of these Dusty Springfield covers so torchy and tasteful you'd think they were on Dusty in Memphis to begin with ("Just a Little Lovin'," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me"). ***

Tears, Lies, and Alibis [Everso, 2010] Dud