Why Shelby Lynne is not a bigger star is beyond me. For over two decades she has consistently produced some of the finest music you can find. She has returned with her newest release, Revelation Road. Several tracks are now available on iTunes and the CD will be released October 18.
She began her recording career in 1988, and after making six albums she received the 2001 Grammy Award for Best New Artist. Her most successful album to date was her 2008 tribute to Dusty Springfield titled Just A Little Lovin.’
2010 was a busy year as she released two studio albums on her newly formed label, Everso Records. This has enabled her to take full control of her career. Her latest album is written, performed, and produced by her, so it is all hers, for better or worse.
Revelation Road is her most personal album to date as she looks into her past for songs of loss and self-examination and her future for some songs of comfort and hope. The music treads the line between alternative country and Americana pop. It is not quite stripped down to basics but acoustic guitar(s) form the foundation upon which she builds her sound. The music and lyrics rotate between harsh and beautiful, which serves to enhance both styles.
The title song is the first track and establishes the theme of the album. Now in her early 40s, she is attempting to find personal redemption from her music. Through her lyrics she is disclosing and revealing her soul and inviting the listener to accompany her on the journey.
Once in a while she expands outward musically. “Even Angels” is a comfortable and easy going music track but the vocal gets very bluesy. “I Don’t Need A Reason To Cry” was assembled well as there is overdubbing, plus some of the guitar sounds match the tone of her vocals. “Heaven’s Only Days Down The Road” is an edgy gospel number.
The highlight is “I’ll Hold Your Hand,” which is constructed as a lullaby. It presents both sides of the album as it explores the hard life but ultimately finds comfort. “Tomorrow’s Sunday, come and rest you soul” are contained in the lyrics and form a nice summary of the albums ultimate message and intent.