Album review: Shelby Lynne – Revelation Road (Everso)

Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne is a multi-faceted artist taking her craft even further on her recent release – Revelation Road

Playing every instrument and singing all of the parts on her third self titled release, Lynne says that this “is her most personal record yet,” turning the lens directly at herself. Make no mistake, these songs are gripping and personal -even more than we’re used to from this artist.  Lynne likes to joke, “unhappy memories make for great country songs,” but the record truly defies genre – this is just a great collection of songs from a great songwriter.”

Lynne plays many of the instrument on this record for the first time; mandolin, drums, percussion and banjo – yet you’d never guess. And in addition to her usual acoustic guitar work, she plays a mean electric as well, particularly the distorted, twangy fills on “Woebeone.”  And to her credit, she doesn’t fall victim to studio trickery or using all the tools in the toolbox, whether needed or not, something that many artists find themselves ensnared in, with the whole studio at their disposal.

The entire record was recorded live to two-inch analog tape and like her past albums, Revelation Road sounds fantastic.  Lynne said in a recent interview, “as long as they’re still making tape, I’ll be recording analog – you can’t beat the sound.”  The LP transfer is excellent, but equal care has been paid to the CD. -There’s no evidence of heavy compression and the mix is spot on, with Lynne’s voice out in front where it belongs, never lost in the mix.

Other than maybe Ella Fitzgerald, Shelby Lynne has a purity of tone and vocal control that has no peer.  It possesses a delicacy and sustain that mesmerizes, yet can go from a whisper to a roar and back again effortlessly – as she does on the title track.

 

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