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


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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