Shelby Lynne pops up today, with a track from her 2005 album Suit Yourself, and it prompts me to see what she’s been up to recently. Lo and behold, she has a new, self-titled, album that dropped less than a month ago. So I listened to a couple of tracks from that record, a release I would have known nothing about if not for the Random iTunes Fairy.
Lynne drew comparisons to Springfield after her 1999 album I Am Shelby Lynne (a great one to check out if you haven’t already) and was later encouraged by Barry Manilow, of all people, to record a collection of Springfield’s songs. Lynne shelved the idea but returned to it several years later.
When today’s random iTunes song — the title track from Shelby Lynne’s 2008 album of Dusty Springfield covers — popped up, I was prepared to write a “whatever happened to?” post. Often these Random Weekend selections serve as reminders of artists who recorded their last albums years ago and then fell off the map.
But to my surprise, Lynne has stayed quite busy since this record. She started her own label and released four well-reviewed albums between 2010 and 2015.
I’m becoming a lot more aware of my age in recent months. It’s not that I’m approaching a milestone (I’m 36) or having a mid-life crisis… nothing like that. I’m just experiencing for the first time what I’ve always heard people say, that the years fly by faster the older you get.
It happens when I realize some people I work with were born in the mid or late 80s. Or when it occurs to me that there are just three months left in the 2000s, when I remember attending the millennium New Year’s Eve party at my sister’s place as if it were last week. The 90s seemed to last forever… the 2000s were over in a blink.
I forgot to include this CD in my recap of 2008 so far. That’s appropriate because it’s mostly forgettable. Shelby Lynne, who has put out three exceptional albums of original material in the past 5-6 years, chooses to pay tribute to Dusty Springfield on her latest record and she turns in some lovely, sleepy renditions of Springfield classics such as the title song, I Don’t Want to Hear it Anymore, I Only Want to Be With You, Breakfast in Bed and more. Lynne has a great voice, to be sure, but she’s simply no match for Dusty Springfield. I discovered Springfield a year or so ago (it was Tift Merritt comparisons, in fact, that led me to her) and she simply blew me away. Her music makes me wish I was a teenager in the 60s, discovering it for the first time. Soulful, sexy, rich and resonant… it’s the sort of thing you listen to and think ‘why does anyone else even bother?’
Anyway, back to Shelby Lynne. She just chose a far too tough act to follow. I admire the attempt, and the album is a very easy listen, but I look forward to her returning to the original country soul material she does so well.