Don't go see Shelby Lynne if you've been having relationship troubles. You just might end up with a tear in your eye. Or a gun in your hand. With a new album on her own label just released, Lynne wasted no time cutting to the chase as she reeled off the first five tracks from Tears, Lies, and Alibis before even saying anything other than 'hello' to the smallish crowd that turned up at Warehouse Live Tuesday. But it was the evening's third song, "Like A Fool," that served notice Lynne wasn't going to let the fact that she was performing for a smaller than hoped-for crowd on a humid Tuesday in the midst of a long tour keep her from reaching deep into her emotional well. Say what you will about Houston crowds chattering during Jenny Lewis or Blue October, but Lynne knows how to quiet them down.
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Perhaps she stunned the crowd into silence on that song, but whatever happened, it got so quiet you could hear the air-conditioning running. Playing in a drumless threesome, Lynne managed to find spots to turn guitar whiz John Jackson loose, and several of his solos were evidence enough to prove why Bob Dylan employed Jackson for years. While Lynne worked most of the tracks from the new album into her set, she also trotted out old crowd favorites like Waylon Payne's "Jesus on a Greyhound," another performance so powerful it seems to suck the air out of the room. Ditto "Life Is Bad."
It's a shame the promoters didn't start this show earlier, as quite a few people drifted away before the end of Lynne's set. Lynne doesn't draw the late weeknight teeny bopper crowd, so an earlier start might have sold more tickets and proved more satisfactory to the demographic. But considerations such as these aside, another stunner by Shelby Lynne. She could've mailed it in, but she didn't.