Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shelby Lynne Channels Dusty Springfield

Shelby Lynne is one of those singers who can't be pigeon-holed simply as a country or pop artist. She started out as a country artist, then evolved into writing and performing songs that can incorporate elements of pop, rock, country, folk, and soul, in different measures. Her mingling of styles drew comparison to "Dusty in Memphis," the pop/country/soul record made in the 1960s by top-selling pop singer Dustry Springfield.

The New York Times Magazine takes a look at her career and her new album in today's issue, which should give her some welcome exposure.

Shelby Lynne's album, "I Am Shelby Lynne," was a critical success and sold well, and Lynne seemed to be well on her way to mainstream success. She even won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2001. It's an album that I played again and again after I bought it.

Her next two albums were considered not as good, and the popular success that once seemed hers eluded her. Now Lynne is channeling Dusty Springfield directly on her new album, "Just a Little Lovin'," which is a tribute to Springfield, who died in 1999.

"Just a Little Lovin'," which is due to be released Jan. 29th, has a connection to Springfield besides the songs: it was produced by Phil Ramone, who produced Dusty Springfield's 1967 version of "The Look of Love." Ramone is a legendary producer who has worked with stars ranging from Billy Joel to Frank Sinatra.

Most of the songs on "Just a Little Lovin'" are remakes of Dusty Springfield classics, including "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," but there is one tune that Lynne wrote.

I doubt that this new album will finally make Shelby Lynne a star, but I'm hoping it will bring her some more attention, acclaim, and record sales.

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