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SHELBY LYNNE & ALLISON MOORER —NOT YET DARK (Silver Cross Records – Thirty Tigers)

http://www.shelbylynne.com

http://www.allisonmoorer.com

http://www.thirtytigers.com

 

It has been a long wait, an album from sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, Both are extremely talented ladies in their own right, and though they have made less outstanding albums than their talent warrant I will forever be in their respective corner. Willing them both to come through with that elusive, dream record. If they haven’t always done themselves full justice, they are so gifted it is unreal, and in Not Yet Dark they show what the fuss is all about as the voices of the Southern girls blend seamlessly.  

 

Making an album together sees them do an album of covers, all but their co-write “It All Gets Too Much”. Though this isn’t new to them, the former having dedicated to Dusty Springfield (Just A Little Lovin’) and Moorer with her album of covers Mockingbird. Produced by Teddy Thompson Not Yet Dark has been a long time in coming, but I can genuinely say the wait has been worth it.

 

“Not Dark Yet” is a Bob Dylan song and the girls really go for it. With Benmont Tench on organ and them in inspired form they nail it (I can’t think of anyone milking the lyrics like they do!). Likewise can be said of Moorer’s lead on “My List”, surrounded by tasteful piano, a feature of the album the artful playing kindles the flame, perfectly. After the beautiful opening track it gets even better as they breeze, effortlessly through Charlie and Ira Louvins’ “Every Time You Leave”. Once again I don’t think anyone could have done as good a job, never mind better! Stunning! Next up you have the much-covered “I’m Looking For Blue Eyes”, a wonderful song and with Lynne seeing a good deal of the spotlight it warms my soul greatly. As for Townes Van Zandt’s “Lungs” such is the timeless beauty of the song and work of the writer not for the first time it prompted me to recalculate his worth as a songwriter. It was already way higher than most other writer alive or otherwise, but here his standing rose to another level in my estimation! He will yours too, just go take a detailed listen to the poignant lyrics. So evocative, and with Lynne and Moorer performing with equal conviction you have a treasure.

 

Moorer leads them through Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires’ “The Color of My Dreams”, and they just had to do something from Merle Haggard (“Silver Wings”). There great harmonies ensure the song sees yet another wonderful cover. Sadly, the album goes out with a whimper as they cover songs by Nick Cave and Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) before bowing out, gracefully with their own, sombre tune “Is It Too Much”.

 

                                                                    Maurice Hope         

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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