Singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne, whose rootsy and rockin’ but melodic and confessional 2000 album I Am Shelby Lynne became a classic of the Americana/AltCountry genre, is a bit worried about her latest release, Tears, Lies and Alibis. The songs have a poetically observational precision that she takes care not to bury with too much production or overly loud singing. The uncluttered, analog-recorded result works smashingly — compositions like “Rains Came,” “Why Didn’t You Call Me,” “Something to Be Said” and “Loser Dreamer” have an introspective dreaminess to them, even when they rock, that allows them to float along on their quietly pleasurable melodies.
But she fears she’s going against the tide.
“I really care about making listenable music,” Lynne says from her Rancho Mirage, Calif., home.
“I don’t think everything has to always necessarily be loud. Just because there’s space in a song, you don’t have to fill it. I really like air, and I like a song to breath. There’s not a lot of that today.”
The album — recorded at her home studio and in Nashville — used a fair amount of session players, including some Muscles Shoals-experienced studio musicians who worked with her previously. (She grew up in Alabama.) But her Saturday performance here will be more radically stripped-down. It will just be her playing acoustic guitar, with John Jackson moving between acoustic and electric accompaniment. In addition to new songs, she’ll also play material from her back catalog.
“This really allows the songs to be heard,” she says. “As much as I love a band thing, I like this as well. It’s really intimate and the album lends itself to being presented in an intimate manner. These songs were written by me with just guitar, so in this setting I take it back down to the original form.”
Tears, Lies and Alibis is Lynne’s first release on her own label, Everso. But she’s already announced the next one: Merry Christmas comes out Oct. 12.
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.)