On 2003’s Identity Crisis, Shelby Lynne crafted an intimate album closer to alt-country than mainstream radio. Because of that release she found critical praise and a fond acceptance from the rock community while taking a small step away from the country scene she’d been immersed in for a decade. With Suit Yourself, out April 26, 2005, Lynne takes a step in a different direction.The music is a bit more contemporary, occasionally sounding like a bluesy, experimental Aimee Mann, and has personal touches grafted to each song. The end result is a low profile romantic, heated, and occasionally grim record that gives voice to all of Lynne’s emotions.Perhaps the full band experience gave the atmosphere necessary to delve deeper into her recent distinctive voice. Lynne recruited the help of guitarist Michael Ward (The Wallflowers), Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ Benmont Tench for keyboards, and Brian “Brain” Harrison’s engineering and bass skills throughout the Suit Yourself sessions. "It was probably the most enjoyable experience I've ever had, making a record with group of cats that just want to play music 'cause that's what they do.”The experience works well and Lynne makes sure the audience recognizes it by opening the album with “Go With It,” a track that begins with a brief rehearsal of the song’s bridge. The rest of Suit Yourself maintains the intimate air, taking you closer to heartbreak and anger than Lynne has ever allowed. “You’re The Man” and “You Don’t Have a Heart” suggest a political and romantic disdain. Contrasting this is “Old Times Sake,” a beautiful and reflective Tony Joe White cover evoking nostalgia.As is often the case with personal albums comes tricky and rough terrain. Lynne handles this in stride for most of the tracks. Understandably, though, there is the occasional faltering. “You and We” stands a bit too brief and rough, while “I Cry Everyday,” is fun initially and a bit too long winded on repeat listening.Suit Yourself is a logical progression for Shelby Lynne. She takes the harmonies of Identity Crisis and combines them with songs purveying insight and philosophies of her life. If she wasn’t weathered with experience, this may be a bad thing, but the end result is the maturation of an artist. Something everyone likes to see and, most importantly, a work that transcends what it is supposed to be. Suit Yourself was recorded in Nashville and has the occasional twangs and accents, but you don’t have to be a Country fan to realize the draw of great music like this.
Cross Posted @ MRBenning's World