By Trevor Christian
Westhampton Beach was treated to an emotional performance from Grammy Winner Shelby Lynne on Saturday night as part of her first solo tour, though the emotional part almost goes without saying. This is Shelby Lynne we’re talking about.
“My type of country music is about the things that make you want to drink,” Lynne said after a song in a thick southern accent. Before she began the next one, she took a dramatic sip of her beer, which was resting on a stool next to her. The topics her songs addressed, which included failed love, loneliness and moments from her childhood both happy and sad, made for exactly the type of hard-hitting country tunes she promised.
Much of that emotional material came off of Revelation Road, Lynne’s latest record. She recorded and played all the instruments for the album, which, as the title suggests, contains plenty of honest self-reflection and the occasional revelation.
Lynne’s latest single, “Heaven’s Only Days Down the Road,” was by far the most powerful song of the evening. It was also perhaps the song she performed the most differently from her record, stretching out notes longer and shifting her mood more drastically and frequently than she had in the studio. Though it was a surprise that Lynne had anything left to add to the already intense Revelation Road, it was certainly a welcome one.
For her two hour set, Lynne sang nearly all of Revelation Road before returning to a line-up of crowd favorites like “Old Dog,” “Dreamsome” and “Your Lies.” “Jesus on a Greyhound” also played exceptionally well. The whole time her voice was only accompanied by her guitar and occasionally the sound of her foot tapping to keep the beat.
The stripped-down style worked for Lynne, especially on some of her newer songs. “Wobegone” proved to be sharper without a back-up singer and “The Thief” came across as more passionate for the same reason. Some of the more bluesy songs, like “Ten Rocks,” seemed to cry out for a electric guitar, though the audience was able to fill the void by clapping along.
Those who missed the show, don’t worry. If history is any indication, the next time Lynne puts out an album, she’ll also announce a Westhampton Beach tour date.