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The Friday Morning Listen: Shelby Lynne – I Am Shelby Lynne

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I guess I've really made the big time! This is my first solo cameo on Mark Saleski's legendary Friday Morning Listen column. It's an honor and a thrill.

It's also funny how life works because I actually spent my Friday morning listening to an album Mr. Saleski turned me on to about six months ago. Synergy, baby. Love it! Not only is it synergy, it's also medicinal. This particular album has enough heat to thaw the cruel, unforgiving artifacts of a powerful storm. There is enough warmth emanating from the music to melt the heart, set the soul ablaze, and engulf the loins in the kind of flames that don't require penicillin.

Back in June, Mark and I were flinging e-mails back and forth, talking about R.E.M., Peter Buck, The Byrds, and used CD stores. Mark mentioned cleaning out his truck – apparently this isn't a common occurrence – and coming across a CD he hadn't listened to in quite awhile that he picked up at a used CD store and was once again stunned by how spectacular I Am Shelby Lynne is. Mark has tried foisting a lot of shit off on me in the past; I've dug some of it and passed on others. He sent me two MP3s to sample: "Why Can't You Be?" and "Lookin' Up." I was already curious about it, so I quickly listened to them.

As jaded and cynical as I am, I love that I still get this excited about music. The heartbreak and longing of "Lookin' Up" was intoxicating. The world-weary sultriness of "Why Can't You Be?" was overpowering. I didn't want to own this record, I needed to own it. I don't crave anything the way I crave music. The need for this album was as strong as any need I've ever felt. I was motivated, determined, obsessed. I had to have this record!

Because Huntsville sucks, finding a copy of I Am Shelby Lynne was incredibly frustrating, but as legendary Alabama football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant used to say, "The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards." I think I almost snapped the CD in two trying to cram the disc into my shitty car stereo as I drove home. Part of that was due to an eagerness I haven't experienced in a few years. Part of that was because I was trying to get the hell out of the shit-hole neighborhood I had to drive to just to find the CD. Self-preservation should have told me to put the CD in the stereo when I got out of there, but I had needs stronger than self-preservation. That's how it is when I get lost in the music. Since buying I Am…, not a month has gone by where I haven't listened to all or part of this incredible record. I'm still finding new places to get lost in this record.

One final piece of synergy for you: when Mark called to ask if I'd like to guest on this week's Friday Morning Listen, I was on my way to a store to buy Lynne's Dusty Springfield tribute CD Just A Little Lovin'. I'm like a gambler, chasing that next big hand. Listening to I Am Shelby Lynne feels too good. How could I not want to feel that way again? How could I not want to feel that way all the time? I don't understand people who don't feel that way about music.

I'm buzzing with anticipation just staring at the cover of Just A Little Lovin', and I'm going to chase that next fix just as soon as I finish listening to I Am Shelby Lynne just one more time.

About Josh Hathaway

  • http://donaldgibson.blogspot.com/ Donald Gibson

    You got the (far) better album the first time around. Just a Little Lovin’ is good, but it doesn’t come close to what was captured on I Am Shelby Lynne.

  • http://glimmersays.blogspot.com Clarence Yu

    Wow. I had a copy of this CD somewhere. I bought it at one time when it came out because of all the raves I had heard about it, but never got the chance to really listen to it. It’s most likely (I hope) somewhere in my collection. I just love it the feeling of re-discovering a certain piece of music that you knew in your gut was worthwhile later on. Reading your review makes me want to check my collection bin. I hope I can find it.

  • http://www.confessionsofafanboy.com Josh Hathaway

    Clarence, I share your joy and enthusiasm for rediscovering great albums that have sat on the shelf for awhile. It happens to me frequently. You should spend some time with this record, soon.

    Donald, I’ve gotten to listen to half of Just a Little Lovin’ and so far I quite like it. It’s not a perfect record but it’s very, very good. I’m hoping to get a writeup of it done soon and we’ll talk more.