Grammy Award winner Shelby Lynne's newalbum 'Suit Yourself' features the hit single 'Go With It' as well as the tribute to Johnny Cash, 'Johnny Met June'. Capitol. 2005.
Lynne's follow-up to 2003's Identity Crisis
works the same sparse, moody territory, but if the title of the former spoke to her self-esteem at the time, Suit Yourself
shows her being more confident in every way. Again acting as her own producer, Lynne took the demo tapes she made in her California home studio to Nashville, where she augmented her first-take vocals with guitar (the Wallflowers
' Michael Ward), keyboards (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
' Benmont Tench), bass, drums, pedal steel, Dobro, and mandolin, employing those instruments merely as brush strokes on a wide-open canvas of voice and emotion. Throughout, Lynne strives to make the project so relaxed that a listener feels as if he's sitting cross-legged in the room--the first track begins with studio chatter, and elsewhere you can hear ice cubes clinking in a glass and the sound of someone pushing the stop button on a tape recorder. For those who prefer a more polished production, this fly-on-the-wall approach may be disconcerting, especially as the occasional track seems unfinished or a bit too rough, with an out-of-tune guitar or a rhythmic disconnect between singer and players. But ultimately, the album satisfies with the honesty and strength of the material, which ranges from Lynne's killer cover of guest Tony Joe White
's "Rainy Night in Georgia" (here titled simply "Track 12") to the smoky groove of "I Cry Everyday," the wistful ballad "Old Time's Sake," and the Waylon Jennings-like "Iced Tea." Speaking of outlaws, "Johnny
," one of the most memorable tracks, details the Cashes' "meeting" on the far banks of the Jordan. Lynne wrote it the day Johnny died. --Alanna Nash