Shelby Lynne Biography

Shelby Lynn Moorer, 22 October 1968, Quantico, Virginia, USA. The exceptionally talented Lynne was raised in Jackson, Alabama, and her life reads like a soap opera: there were long arguments with her father who had her jailed on a trumped-up charge, and later, she saw her father shoot her mother dead and then commit suicide, leaving her to look after her younger sister, Allison Moorer. When she appeared on the Nashville Now talent show at the age of 18, it was evident that she was a very good singer with a rather unusual, deep voice. Billy Sherrill offered to produce her records and her 1989 debut included the standards ‘I Love You So Much It Hurts’ and ‘I’m Confessin’’. Her first single, ‘If I Could Bottle This Up’, was with another of Sherrill’s artists, George Jones.

Lynne proved to be a very determined country performer who does not kow-tow to the media by turning on smiles for the photographers, but this reputation made it difficult to obtain a record contract after parting with Epic Records. Temptation (1993) was a radical album, employing a full horn section, and sounded closer to Harry Connick Jnr. than country music - the video for ‘Feelin’ Kind Of Lonely Tonight’ indicated her wish to tour with an orchestra, and for the first time Lynne contributed her own material. The 1995 follow-up Restless marked something of a return to traditional country, although there were still jazz and R&B overtones.

Despite her talent Lynne has yet to win over US radio stations, a problem highlighted by the fact that the excellent I Am Shelby Lynne (1999), recorded with Bill Bottrell and her first release for Mercury Records, was primarily targeted at the European market. Lynne earned belated recognition in her homeland when she won the Best New Artist Grammy Award in February 2001. ‘Killin’ Kind’, featured on the Bridget Jones’s Diary soundtrack, gave a taste of the slick pop direction of Lynne’s new album Love, Shelby (2001). The poor sales of this set hastened the end of her time with Mercury, and in 2003 she signed a new recording contract with Capitol Records. Identity Crisis (2003) and Suit Yourself (2005) were excellent, low-key country soul recordings that catered to the artist’s cult following.

In 2005, Lynne appeared in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line playing Carrie Cash. Three years later she debuted for the Lost Highway label with an album of Dusty Springfield cover versions (alongside one original track). It was perhaps inevitable that Lynne would cover Springfield at some point in her career, but Just A Little Lovin’ proved to be an enduring delight.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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