The great Shelby Lynne turns 40 today (October 22).
If you’re not familiar with her–watch out for the shameless plug here–you can read what I wrote about her for The Advocate earlier this year. Briefly, she was a Nashville singer for a decade, then rediscovered herself as a singer/songwriter and won a “Best New Artist” Grammy for her 1999 album I Am Shelby Lynne, which drew fond comparisons to Dusty Springfield’s 1968 masterpiece, Dusty In Memphis. This year, Shelby brought the Dusty connection full-circle, releasing a Dusty tribute that’s her best-selling album yet, Just A Little Lovin’.
Ok, I’m getting to the Nyro connection.
Laura, too, loved Dusty, as I pointed out in my book Soul Picnic. If you’ve read the book, you might remember Laura’s 1966 studio demo session with her first manager, Artie Mogull, in which he asks her to play something she didn’t write after she’s just shown off her prodigal songwriting skills with several originals. Laura hadn’t prepared any cover songs–as if she needed to!–so she stumbled around trying to play something, offering a line of “Kansas City” and then–here it comes–the opening line of Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want To Be With You.”
Check out a video of Shelby’s version (above), and if she’s in your area during her fall tour, check out Shelby as well. She’s a masterful performer; you won’t regret spending an evening with her.
P.S. There’s another single-degree-of-separation between Shelby and Laura: Shelby cut Felix Cavaliere’s “How Can I Be Sure” for Just A Little Lovin’ , and Felix was both Laura’s friend/Danbury neighbor and the coproducer of Christmas and the Beads of Sweat (plus he helped out on Nested). And by the way, when I met Shelby I gave her a copy of my book and emailed her a list of Nyro albums she should listen to. Always trying to widen the circle of Laura love …