Tonight's Concert Pick
Country's forgotten siren: How many new artist Grammys can Shelby Lynne win?
Some years I just have to throw up my hands and scream "Fraud!" with the manner in which the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences handles the Grammy awards process. In other years — at the very least — I feel the businessmen millionaires in charge are in desperate need of a calculator ... or at least an abacus.
Exhibit A: Country singer songwriter Shelby Lynne.
Lynne, the older sister of singer-songwriter Allison Moorer, was first spied on the The Nashville Network (that's what they used to call Spike TV before it started showing Star Wars sequels and CSI reruns 24 hours-a-day) talk show, Nashville Now, back in 1988. She charted a year later singing with the king of country relationship duos, George Jones, on "If I Could Bottle This Up."
Lynne's first album, Sunrise, came out in 1989 on major label, Epic, and she continued to make a steady climb on the charts with five albums through the mid-1990s.
It was her sixth album, I Am Shelby Lynne, in 2000, however, that became her breakout hit. Switching to a sound that dulled the line between country and R&B, singles like "Leavin'" and "Gotta Get Back," became radio standards as the calendar flipped toward a new millennium.
So, come Grammy time the following year, how did Grammy award Lynne for this monumental breakthrough after a decade-plus work in the business?
They awarded her the best NEW artist award.
Yes, you read that correctly. (If there was a way to type the sound of me biting through my lower lip in utter frustration, I would put it here).
I caught up with Lynne at those Grammy Awards and she was pleasantly surprised, said all the right things during her acceptance speech ... and appeared equally as baffled as the gathered media behind the scenes.
I bring all this up because, in the decade since that strange bit of acknowledgement, Lynne has consistently been making albums and touring over the last decade. Two years ago she made an album in tribute to Dusty Springfield, Just A Little Lovin', that is probably one of the most under appreciated cover albums in modern music history.
This trip to Houston is our first live listen to her new album, Tears, Lies & Alibis and finds her enjoying complete control as a writing and recording artist. Lynne recorded and produced the album in her home and it is a return to the biographical honesty that made I Am Shelby Lynne so intoxicating.
Grab a copy and let's see if we can't celebrate Lynne's 21st year recording music music by getting her the Grammy for best new artist ... again.
(And don't put it past the Grammy masterminds to consider this idea.)
Shelby Lynne, 8 p.m. at Warehouse Live