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Album Review

Shelby Lynne, 'Tears, Lies & Alibis'

April 19, 2010

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Shelby Lynne’s first album of original material in five years starts out where her 2008 Dusty Springfield tribute, “Just a Little Lovin’,’’ left off. (In fact, the opening tracks here creep closer to Dusty’s blue-eyed soul sound more than Lynne ever did on her tribute.) Soon enough, though, Lynne shifts gears, but not toward the sort of eclecticism she’s been displaying since she reinvented herself a decade ago on “I Am Shelby Lynne.’’ Her typical lyrical bent remains, but musically, “Tears, Lies & Alibis’’ is largely a spare, acoustic affair. Lynne sounds utterly naked on “Like a Fool,’’ a delicate ache of a song built on strummed acoustic and tolling baritone guitars, and completely fed up on “Family Tree,’’ which rides a harder strum before erupting into a banjo-fueled coda. She boils hardcore honky-tonk down to guitar (still acoustic), pedal steel, pain, and hard liquor on “Old #7’’ and trots out her songwriting chops on “Something to Be Said,’’ an ode to Airstream trailers (“a rolling home made out of silver’’) and fleeing in them. But after all the tears, lies, and alibis, she closes in anticipation of stillness and grace, singing of the balm of returning to “Home Sweet Home.’’ (Out tomorrow) STUART MUNRO

ESSENTIAL “Like a Fool’’

Shelby Lynne plays at Johnny D’s on May 8.