London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

...what really lets her down, is the soporific musical gruel served up by her session-bore band...

As the old clichi goes, if you’re lonesome and troubled, then country’s the music for you. Displaying impeccable pedigree,[a]Shelby Lynne[/a] grew up hard in Alabama, her parents died tragically, and seemingly every man she’s met since has been a lyrical goldmine of lying scum. To top it all she got drummed out of Nashville – alright, left of her own accord – for not fitting in.

But if the likes of [a]Lambchop[/a] are currently giving the twanging sound of that city an alternative sheen, you couldn’t count Lynne in their number. Not that she doesn’t try – with an incredible voice and a mountain of Southern charm, songs like ‘Your Lies’ and ‘Leavin” add a Spector-esque sheen of soul to proceedings. But it’s not enough. Because, short of donning a stetson and branding a steer, things really couldn’t get much more redneck.

What really lets her down, however, is the soporific musical gruel served up by her session-bore band. They dawdle, they plod and – when not living out Grand Ol’ Opry fantasies – act like AOR is a badge of honour.

Forget the comparisons she usually picks up – Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, any tough, soulful female singer – Shelby Lynne is really nothing more than Alanis Morissette with a drawl and no knowledge of grunge, or Sheryl Crow with an attitude and a sweet smile. That might make her a rebel in Nashville, but in the real world it’s a Sunday drive in the shires behind the wheel of a family saloon.