Style: Soul-infused country; compare to Dusty Springfield, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris
Top tracks: "Even Angels," "Woebegone," "Heaven's Only Days Down the Road"
Shelby Lynne has performed John Lennon's "Mother" (from his primal scream-influenced, post-Beatles debut, Plastic Ono Band) more than once. So it's fitting to hear hints of Lennon's most honest album on Lynne's startling, raw-yet-refined Revelation Road. The moody maverick discards studio convention—playing every instrument—and emotional shields, freely recalling her parents' murder-suicide (25 years ago, when Shelby was 17) on "Heaven's Only Days Down the Road" and "I'll Hold Your Head." While the title track is spiritually cynical, the gritty "Woebegone" features the husky-throated chanteuse declaring, "Lord, I've suffered way too long" then diving deeper: "Did I cause me all this pain? … Do I pay for my mistakes?" Multilayered, rich, and brave stuff.1
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