Tuned In


Sunday, June 06, 2010

Our featured Tuned In artist this week is Shelby Lynne.

Her talent is as versatile as the accolades she has earned. She is a Grammy Award winning artist, writer, and accomplished actress. Performances such as her role as Carrie Cash in the blockbuster motion picture "Walk The Line" exemplify one overall theme for those who follow her career; taking a genuine approach to doing what she loves best, and following her heart.

We caught up with her at the World Café Live. She spoke candidly to us about her special connection with music, and her fans. She is currently on tour in support of her latest album, "Tears, Lies, and Alibis".

Please enjoy her biography

I recorded the Just A Little Lovin' album at Capitol Studios in January of 2007 with Phil Ramone and Al Schmitt. This was a collection of songs that had been inspired by the late, great Dusty Springfield. The record wasn't released until January 2008, so I had a whole year to sit around. And that's pretty much what I did. I would stare at the sky, sit in the sun, cook, garden, pick up my guitar and wait on something to happen. Nothing was happening. I was starting to think I was in trouble.

The days and nights came and went, came and went  until one Sunday morning in September when I was talking on the phone to Brian Harrison, exploring our usual nerdy topics, like music, drinking, old lovers, studios, when he said something that struck me. Struck me hard. We were on the subject of how relationships and musicians just don't jive. They might start out fine, but normally they don't last. Especially with chicks. He was saying how they start out digging you the most, but then  six months later when they realize you're not gonna settle down and get married, have babies, move the gear out of the bedroom, and stop having dudes come by at 11 p.m. drinking and spilling whiskey on the floor  the loving starts to wane and she's out the door screaming, "You're just a Loser Dreamer!" When he said it, I felt like the door had opened up and I was free! I finally escaped the dark, ungiving space and the song wrote itself right then and there. "Loser Dreamer" was born, and so was this record  Tears, Lies, And Alibis.

"Loser Dreamer" gave me a place to head when thinking of writing other things and soon everyday life brought another song. I've lived in the California desert now for 10 years and I love it. Even in the August heat I love it. But I dearly miss the Southern rainstorms we used to get when I was growing up in Alabama. I long for any amount of rain and that just hardly ever happens here. Every now and then we get a little storm and I go outside and stand in it. It was another Sunday morning when the rain fell, so I grabbed my pen. I started writing the silliest lyrics I've ever heard and just chalked it up as something I would put in my poetry book and throw in a drawer. But not before I read the lyrics to Brian, who loved it.

Later, when Val McCallum was playing his wicked guitar on the record and we were about to wrap it up, Brian said, "What about 'Rains Came?' " I said, "Well, what the hell  let's give it a whirl." "Rains Came" is the first track on the record because it's a little crazy. I wanted to grab everybody's attention first thing with something unique.

I was also a little apprehensive about putting "Something To Be Said" on this record. I mean, who wants to hear me sing about my love for campers? But that's why it's important to surround yourself with folks who will give you their opinion about things without kissing your ass. They won the war and it's on here. And you know what? I'm so glad. Yes, I love Airstream trailers. To me, they're as classic as a Tiffany box. And yes, I am going to get one. After all, if I keep acting, I'll need an Airstream to stay in on movie sets.

Lost Highway had the option of picking me up for another album, and after much deliberation I decided to do it. That's when the fun began. They cut my recording budget in half  but they wanted a "famous" producer to produce me. They didn't quite trust me to do it myself. Listen, I have never wanted to be nor do I claim to be a record producer. I just push "record" and play the song  which seemed to work pretty well on Identity Crisis and Suit Yourself. Somehow we talked them into it and I started recording in my home studio in Rancho Mirage in January 2009, with Brian "Brain" Harrison doing the engineering.

By this time, I had about 10 or 12 good songs I was ready to put down. So I started there, with just me on vocals, guitar and harmonies. Then I added some of the best musicians in the world  I'm just lucky a few of them are my good friends. My buddies Val McCallum (guitars) and Ben Peeler (steel guitar, mandolin and banjo) drove over from L.A. for a few days to add their touches to the songs. And John Jackson (guitars, dobro) flew in from Nashville to show some love in between the road dates we had out here.

Next I was in need of some pickers from the South, so I headed to Nashville. There I enlisted a couple of the Swampers from Muscle Shoals  David Hood (bass) and Spooner Oldham (Wurlitzer, Rhodes)  and two of my favorite drummers, Rick Reed (drums) and Bryan Owings (drums, percussion). I also had the chance to work with Kenny Malone, who played on my very first record in Nashville, produced by Billy Sherrill. He is one of the most unique drummer/percussionists in the biz. Randy Leago played piano on the "Just A Little Lovin'" tour, but this cat can play anything. So I asked him to play horns on "Rains Came." Dave Jacques is one of the best upright bass players in Nashville and if you listen close to "Like A Fool," you can hear him playing with a bow  just beautiful. Mark Jordan plays piano on the track and it's my favorite solo on the record. It's just a haunting performance for a really simple song.

I remember the night I wrote "Like A Fool." It's the kind of song that comes when I'm feeling a little sad and sentimental. I probably had a few too many that night and the words spilled out onto the paper. The next night I decided to record it and spend some time living with it in order to decide if should go on the record. I played it for Elizabeth, my manager, and she loved it. I lost the battle again. And would you believe it was one of the songs the "Army Wives" people picked it for an episode I acted in last year? More and more I ask myself, "What do I know?" Honestly? It's my favorite track on the record.

It was getting to be time to play what I had for Lost Highway. I flew back to Nashville to finish up some details and invited them to Brain's studio. I had the champagne flowing and we played it for them. They still wanted to bring in a producer with a "name" and I said no. The next day we agreed to part ways.

Well, folks, that leads me to where I sit today. I am thrilled to tell you that I am officially the President and CEO of my own record label called EVERSO RECORDS and Tears, Lies, And Alibis is its first release. I've made records for 20 years and never been more excited. I finally have the creative control I've needed to get my vision out there. I have to answer to no one. Publishing, movies, TV, the road and everything else have provided me with my living. And for that I'm grateful. But the record label of yesterday is gone, my friends. It is time for a new day  a day when the artist's vision is seen without money or politics getting in the way.

I like this record a lot. I spent a year making it and made a lot of decisions and changes during that period. It was fun at times, not fun sometimes. But in the end, this is the record I wanted you to hear and the one I thought you would love.

Enjoy, and here's to the future!


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