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Picks and Pans Review: Temptation

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Shelby Lynne

While Lynne’s new look makes her resemble a truckstop Piaf, her new sound evokes the Big Band era—and suggests that she would have made a splendid Western Swing band singer. From “Temptation,” the sensuous title tune, to the more romantic “I Need a Heart to Come Home To,” Lynne, producer Brent Maher and horn arranger Buddy Skipper generate a fluid sound. Pianist Bobby Ogdin and steel guitarist Paul Franklin merit assists too.

There are no excursions into Ellington, which Lynne has made on past albums, and the song selection could have used some spice. Nepotism might be a factor. Maher himself has a writing credit on eight of 10 tracks. This isn’t necessarily bad, since he and his usual writing partners, including Mike Reid and Don Schlitz, have turned out a lot of listenable as well as marketable country music. In this case, though, there’s a dulling sameness to many of the tunes (three of the titles are an identical eight syllables long). Look and material aside, Lynne is in terrific voice and remains a bright spot among the youngest generation of country singers. All four of her albums have been fun and surprising. (Mercury)