ST. LOUIS — Singer-songwriter Shelby Lynne is opening up old wounds and fully revealing herself on her latest project, “Revelation Road,” easily her most personal.
“I wrote about my childhood a lot. I’ve never delved into that category before,” says Lynne, who as a teenager with her younger sister, singer Allison Moorer, lived through her father murdering her mother before killing himself.
“I think you get to a time in your life when you’re at a peaceful enough place to really go back and honestly look at things in a loving way, as opposed to not being ready yet or being there with too much sadness or anger,” she says. “I don’t have that anymore. I’m at peace with all my demons and feel free to work it out.”
Lynne, who won the Grammy for best new artist in 2001, says writing the album was cathartic.
“It was more of a relief getting this done, writing about certain things like my father and my sister, and growing up in Alabama and making good songs out of it,” she says. “That felt really good.”
This isn’t the album Lynne initially set out to make.
“I’m not good at making plans, and I’m sure if I did it would change,” she says. “If it’s going to be good, you can’t plan it. You can only let it do what it does and help it along.”
“Revelation Road” marks the first time Lynne wrote, produced and performed a project solo, and it’s her first time on drums and piano.
“I put it all out there,” she says. “I figured as long as I kept it simple, I can’t hurt myself.”
Part of her reasoning for keeping the project to herself was because she wanted to record it in her studio deep in California’s desert.
“It’s not hard to get here, but as far as all the musicians I know who would love to play with me anytime, it takes a lot to get them out,” she says. “I’m such a homebody, and my studio is set up here close to my house.”
“Revelation Road” also represents a new phase of Lynne’s career in which she is recording on her own label, Everso Records, after having worked with the Lost Highway label.
When Lynne presented her 2010 album, “Tears, Lies and Alibis,” to Lost Highway, she says the label didn’t like it. Lynne stormed away.
“I said I was sick of y’all and walked,” she says. “The thing about record labels is they want to make money. And that’s fine. We’re all in the business to make money. But that’s all they want. And they want all the damn money.”
Lynne used the money she had in the bank to start her own label.
“I figured I got a name, I got a record, and there’s enough people out there who want to hear what I do,” she says.
Through her label, Lynne has released three albums in less than two years, including “Revelation Road.”
“I don’t have to wait my turn anymore,” she says. “I can put music out whenever I want to. And if I want to do Chinese poetry with a cherry on top, I can do that, too.”
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article