Shelby Lynne is now in her early forties and has been releasing excellent and creative albums since 1988. Her first five albums charted on the country charts in The United States. Her sound has moved in a more traditional direction lately as five of her last six albums have reached the Billboard pop charts.
It seems that the holidays are always filled with artists releasing albums of Christmas music; plus a number of holiday releases are re-issued year after year. Many deservedly fade away very quickly never to be heard from again.
Shelby Lynne has now joined the holiday album parade with her Merry Christmas, and it should become a tradition for years to come.
She has always possessed one of the better voices in pop/country music, and it is well suited for traditional Christmas music plus two original compositions. Many of the songs are stripped to their basics as they succumb to her fine contralto vocals. She gives the music an intimacy that makes you think of a small lounge setting.
The two original compositions cover both ends of the emotional spectrum. “Ain’t Nothing Like Christmas” is a joyful and upbeat ode for the family and fireplace. “Xmas” is a sad and maudlin story song of a difficult Christmas journey.
The Christmas standards are well done but not over done. Her take on the hymn “O Holy Night” is laid back with a simple guitar. “Silver Bells” has some nice slide guitar and mandolin in support of her vocal. “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” serves as a vehicle for her perfect vocal. “White Christmas” ends the album on a warm and appealing note.
The album’s best track may be “Christmas Time’s A-Coming” which was written by bluegrass fiddler Benjamin “Tex” Logan who also has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. The likes of Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris have covered the song in the past. Her version is excellent as she wisely keeps it simple and acoustic.
Merry Christmas by Shelby Lynne will make a fine addition to any holiday collection. Its relaxed and ultimately inspired music should warm any hearth and home.
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