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Clearwater Artist of the Day: Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne

Shelby Lynne (photo by Alexandra Hedison, courtesy of


Fiercely independent and deeply soulful, Shelby Lynne has been recording albums since the tender age of 17. Raised in Mobile, Alabama, it was natural for this Southern-born singer to start out in Nashville, where she quickly landed a major label deal with Epic in the '80s. Shelby quickly scored a hit with her first recording, a duet with George Jones, with 1988's "If I Could Bottle This Up."

However, the hit-making country music machine of Nashville wasn't a good fit for Lynne. After releasing a few albums there that didn’t quite hit it big, she left Nashville, and her label, and headed for Southern California. That decision was a turning point. Lynne met Bill Bottrell, who eventually produced her landmark 2000 album, I Am Shelby Lynne, which won her Best New Artist at the 43rd Grammys the following year. As she accepted her Grammy, Lynne remarked, "Thirteen years and six albums to get here."

That album just marked its 15th anniversary and Lynne recently scored another lucky 13, releasing her thirteenth album, I Can’t Imagine, at the behest of on her new label, Rounder Records. The label simultaneously asked the singer to reissue I Am Shelby Lynne for its anniversary too.

I Can't Imagine is self-produced, as most of Lynne's recent recordings have been. It finds the singer sounding better than ever, with her signature “Americana Soul” sound, complemented by guest Citizen Cope and a couple songs co-written with Ron Sexsmith. Lynne recorded the album with her touring band and she is doing what comes most naturally to her. This talented artist's love of nature, as well as her amazing voice, makes Shelby Lynne a fantastic fit for the Clearwater Festival.

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