Shelby Lynne, "Revelation Road" (Everso)
Shelby Lynne's decision to make her new disc a complete do-it-yourself project seems perverse at first, the product of a stubborn streak since her skills as an instrumentalist in no way match her songwriting and singing ability.
Then you realize how the sparse, barely-there accompaniment forces you to concentrate on the songs, and she delivers the goods. Lynne brings you into the darkest recesses of her soul, with her pain palpable on songs like "I Want to Go Back" and "Toss it All Aside." On "Heaven's Only Days Down the Road," she imagines the mindset of someone who makes a tragic decision he can never back away from.
Her experiences ultimately make her stronger, and on "I Won't Leave You," Lynne shows how she can be there for someone who needs her.
The album's confessional style is as close as she's come to the emotional rawness of John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band" record, clearly a milestone to her. There are times when you wonder how this would have sounded with players as good as her songs, but they ultimately would have added emotional distance, and that's the last thing "Revelation Road" needed.
CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: "I Want to Go Back." No, she certainly doesn't.