Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer: Not Dark Yet


Musicians and sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer duet together for the first time on an album that strongly covers and links songs with ease and style.

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

Not Dark Yet

Label: Silver Cross
US Release Date: 2017-08-18
UK Release Date: 2017-08-18

With two successful careers ongoing, country musicians and sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer collaborated for the first time on Not Dark Yet, a strong set of covers and one original song. Picking well-known songs from musicians like Bob Dylan (the title track), the Killers (the opening track), the Louvin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Nick Cave, Nirvana, and a few others, Lynne and Moorer deliver exquisite vocal performances and embracing arrangements on the tracks. Altogether the duet album collects their individual nuances into a joyful and reflective album that offers a shockingly powerful message of strength through dark times.

The opening track “My List” and title track “Not Dark Yet” present close similarities to the versions by the Killers and Bob Dylan respectively. By opening the album with these songs, and the Louvin Brothers’ 1960 single “Every Time You Leave” placed between them, Moorer and Lynne explore resilience in loss, amid the songs’ (and artists) theological emphases.

The title track will find attention for how closely it reproduces Dylan’s original from 1997’s Time Out of Mind, and it deserves as much praise, but the nine covers on the album collectively build the message delivered and connect the duets and meanings by the two musicians and sisters. The album presents a longing for someone to return, pairing classic songs like “Lungs” by Townes Van Zandt and “Silver Wings” by Merle Haggard (both 1969) with Amanda Shires’ “The Color of a Cloudy Day” (2016). Jessi Colter’s “I’m Looking for Blue Eyes” (1975) and Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms” (1997) similarly demonstrate shared messages of love and loss across music genre’s and within pop music.

The theme that the pairings of tracks and the album as a whole present is one of timelessness to managing loss in life, illustrated by the opening trilogy of the songs that continue highlighting religious searching and personal longing, all signified by invoking Not Dark Yet as the album’s title. Overcoming life’s difficulties, searching for meaning from God or love, and finding solace in recover and resilience coalesce in a powerful duet by Lynne and Moorer on a faithfully arranged (if somewhat stripped down) cover of “Lithium” by Nirvana. Kurt Cobain’s lyrics treated with reverence and strict adherence provide rebellion but faith as the album comes to a close, together with a striking guitar solo within the stripped track.

The ultimate track is the long original track provided by the duetting musicians and siblings. “Is It Too Much” reflects on shared experiences, connections, and the weight carried following trauma, and provides a measure of closure to the preceding covers on the album. The song is quieter and softer but ends the album strongly and carefully hints at finding support from siblings, as Lynne and Moorer do across the duets on Not Dark Yet.

Not Dark Yet is a cohesive duet album by Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer, but not by the same measure as covers album typically are. The songs selected and covered are arranged close to the original artists, retaining structures and messages, but also in consideration of Moorer and Lynne’s duets and intent on finding strength together and overcoming loss and pain. The most surprising element to this enjoyable and thoughtful album is that this is their first duet album. That the songs are covers is ultimately irrelevant to the care, arrangements, and deliberate duet Lynne and Moorer deliver, the songs finding their strength and shared focus to push ahead after loss.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.