Shelby Lynne - Tears, Lies, and AlibisI love Shelby Lynne. I’m not given to starting my reviews with such proclamations, but I think it’s important that you know where I’m coming from. Not only is Shelby a great singer and songwriter, but next to my own beloved, she seems to be just about the coolest chick on the planet.

After a brief stint in the Nashville music factory, Shelby realized that she was never going to get the kind of control over her music that she wanted. She walked away from a promising career as a country star, and didn’t emerge again until her classic 2000 album I Am Shelby Lynne, which served as a statement of her intentions. That album got her a Grammy for “Best New Artist” despite the fact that she had been making records for more than ten years at that point. She has released several albums since then, most recently her tribute to Dusty Springfield, Just A Little Lovin’, released in 2008.

After failing to reach agreement with Lost Highway about how her new album should be recorded, Shelby Lynne walked out again. The result is the first album on her own label, Tears, Lies, and Alibis (Everso Records). Full control comes with a lot of responsibility. There’s no one else to blame if the work comes up short. Fortunately, there’s no need to worry about that. The new album is another in a line of powerful personal statements from this artist.

The recording of Tears, Lies, and Alibis began with vocals, guitars, and harmonies recorded in Lynne’s home studio in the California desert. After adding some overdubs, the project moved to Nashville. Lynne numbers some wonderful musicians among her friends, and the contributors include such A-List players as guitarist John Jackson, drummer Bryan Owings, and a couple of the Muscle Shoals Swampers – bass player David Hood, and keyboard player Spooner Oldham.

Once again Lynne has proven to be a completely fearless songwriter. There is very little about her life that seems to be off the table. Whether it’s the defiant, determined “Family Tree,” the utterly heartbroken “Like A Fool,” or the honky-tonk weeper “Old #7,” you definitely get the impression that this woman has lived every word of every one of her songs. She even manages to add a personal touch to her ode to Airstream campers, “Something To Be Said”.

So I love Shelby Lynne. Can you blame me? Not only is she an accomplished songwriter, and a compellingly soulful singer, she is an inspiration to every artist who wants to do it their own way. Like all of her albums since 2000, Tears, Lies, and Alibis is sure to be in my Top Ten list when the end of the year rolls around.