She & Him: New Album Announcement!

She & Him (a.k.a. M. Ward and New Girl‘s Zooey Deschanel) just announced the upcoming release and tracklist of their new covers album, Classics. Set for release on December 2nd, Classics will include She & Him’s interpretation of a wide range of “golden oldies” — from Broadyway and Bacharach to Sinatra and Dusty Springfield.

Classics Tracklist:
1. “Stars Fell on Alabama”
2. “Oh No, Not My Baby”
3. “It’s Not for Me to Say”
4. “Stay Awhile”
5. “This Girl’s in Love With You”
6. “Time After Time”
7. “She”
8. “Teach Me Tonight”
9. “It’s Always You”
10. “Unchained Melody”
11. “I’ll Never Be Free”
12. “Would You Like to Take a Walk”
13. “We’ll Meet Again”

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She & Him Official Site

Shelby Lynne: Just A Little More Lovin’

Shelby Lynne’s tenth studio album Just A Little More Lovin’ was released this week by Lost Highway Records. The album was recorded live in studio and is a tribute to Dusty Springfield. The disc features nine covers culled from Dusty’s songbook and one original inspired by the singer. I was a fan of Shelby’s music back in the early ’90s when she was a red-haired country singer like her sister Allison Moorer, but she has since then transformed into a blonde folk-pop star.

I’m not as impressed by this album as others claim to be. The collection is certainly good and grows on me with each listen, but it seems to be much more appealing to people who don’t normally listen to jazz, folk, or country. Shelby has a pretty voice, but it’s not quite strong enough to make such pale tunes shine. Instead, there’s an overall mellow coffeehouse tone reminiscent of Norah Jones’ debut or Suzy Bogguss’ Sweet Danger.

The two Burt Bacharach tunes – “Anyone Who Had A Heart” and “The Look Of Love”- and the lackluster rendition of “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” (the definitive version of which was by Elvis) are the prime examples of the album’s unfortunate flirtation with mediocrity. The tracks are pleasant, but so lacking in dimension that they are better suited for background music than attentive listening.

That being said, it’s still a fine album for a laid-back climate and there are some noteworthy tracks. The moody and understated “Just A Little Lovin”, the seductive “Breakfast In Bed” and the bluesy “Willie And Laura Mae Jones” are particularly good. The three songs afford a rare glimpse into the deeper, soulful side of Shelby’s voice and the latter track shows off her guitar playing talent.

Shelby flavors her reticent singing style with a little bit of twang on her cover of “I Only Want To Be With You”. The ballad “Pretend” is the only track on the album written by Shelby herself and what a difference the hand holding the pen makes. Lynne finally allows some emotive modulation to break the smooth surface of her voice. And the stripped down rendering of “How Can I Be Sure” serves as a satisfying finale.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below.

Shelby Lynne Official Site
Shelby on MySpace

Buy the CD