There is a comfortable, rough draft feel to Shelby Lynne’s latest work that was
created intentionally. Producing this record on her own (she also produced her
last effort, 2003’s Identity Crisis), Lynne chose her original scratch
vocals on several of the tracks. That choice gives the record a raw emotional
appeal that is complimented by arrangements and performances that are perfectly
executed for the songs. These songs are leanly produced and have an organic
quality. This is in stark contrast to I am Shelby Lynne (2000), produced
by Bill Botrell (Sheryl Crow, Michael Jackson), and Love, Shelby (2001),
produced by Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette, No Doubt). Most of the material on
those records had complex arrangements and filled nearly each and every space
Suit Yourself starts with the toe tapping “Go With It,” complete with
Shelby’s production direction and the band’s 33-second practice run before the
song picks up and officially begins. The next song, “Where Am I Now,” is a quiet
track with a touch of folk and country that centers on her distinctive, soulful
vocal delivery and a modest backing arrangement. The record does explore a
couple of different types of tracks but never so varied that anything feels out
of context within the record.
The best track may be “Track 12,” which is actually a cover of Tony Joe White’s
“Rainy Night in Georgia” and features White on guitar. Her voice delivers a
tremendous ambiance and evokes the feel of a dark smoky nightclub just before
closing. She takes a great song and crafts it with her own style and touch. Ms.
Lynne has released a steady output of interesting work. Suit Yourself
feels intensely personal, and right up there with the best work of her career.
~R. David Smola