Up close and personal with Shelby Lynne

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Just when you think you have Shelby Lynne pegged, there's a twist, and you realize you aren't as informed as you think.

When she flashed across the world in 2001 after winning the Best New Artist Grammy, many thought the petite singer-songwriter with the big, bold vocal chops would become a major force. But no matter how hard the studios tried to push and pull her into the mold, Lynne was intent on making music her way. Not that the bust of her 2001 album, "Love, Shelby," wasn't a disappointment, but she's philosophical about that and the critically acclaimed, but modest, commercial success that followed.

"The biggest challenge is the continual not wanting to get discouraged," she recently said during a live interview after a set at the Los Angeles Silent Theatre, according to Chris Willman, of the Hollywood Reporter. "I've never believed that I made music for the masses. I always thought it was probably too personal."

Personal is something that Lynne does very well, especially on her latest album, "Revelation Road." A deluxe edition of the release -- with five bonus acoustic tracks, an 18-track live showcase, a "Live in London" DVD and more -- was just released. What's especially intriguing about the deluxe edition and the tour she has launched to support are the glimpses that the very private Lynne gives into her personal life. Lynne will do a live Q&A on each stop on the tour.

Onstage
Shelby Lynn
Where: 7:30 p.m. Sunday
When: The Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW
Info: $38; 202-787-1000; thehamiltondc.com/live

It's likely not surprising to longtime fans that she dedicated "I'll Hold Your Head" to her sister, singer-songwriter Allison Moorer, with whom she learned to sing three-part harmony as their mother drove them back and forth to grade school in Alabama.

What is surprising is the song "Heaven's Only Days Down the Road," which she wrote about her father, who killed himself and her mother in front of his then-young daughters.

"I had a daddy that had so many demons, he couldn't be here. And I wrote a song about it, 26 years later," she said at the Silent Theatre event, telling the interviewer, "The whole subject matter was always, 'Who wants to write a song about that?' [But] sometimes when it's time to really get down in there to the stuff that you're tired of holding in, something forces itself out to be written about. And it immediately came in daddy's voice as a first person thing, and I just started immediately filling in the blanks."

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Nancy Dunham

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner