Live Review: Shelby Lynne and Jamestown Revival in Los Angeles
One of the better places to be in Los Angeles on Saturday night (7/26) had to be the outdoor field next to the Annenberg Space for Photography, where local music discovery powerhouse KCRW hosted a free concert featuring buzzworthy newcomers Jamestown Revival and the comparatively veteran Shelby Lynne.
Where Jamestown Revival is coming off of a pair of local shows just a few weeks back, Lynne is trafficking a reimagining of the live show behind her "I Am Shelby Lynne" album from 2000, which she says she just won control of the masters for and will re-release in October.
The show series at the Annenberg space, dubbed "Country in the City," is just one element of a busy summer for the local NPR affiliate, slipping in alongside a run of free events in Chinatown, several at the Santa Monica Pier and a sprinkling more from downtown to Westwood to Pasadena.
Jamestown Revival's swampy Americana hangs its hat on the nimble harmonies of frontmen Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance. But coming off the band's exuberant performances in May, it's striking how prominent the band's backline has become, thanks to a few months of hard touring. They're a tighter band and the live arrangements feel a bit more focused to great effect.
From set-starter "Fur Coat Blues" through a nine-song set that included a tip of the hat to our run of heat and humidity with a solid take on CCR's "Born on the Bayou," they teed things up quite nicely for Shelby Lynne.
Coming off of 2011's stark and somber "Revelation Road," Lynne's dip back into the full-band soul and country-rock of "I Am" serves as something a seasonal rotation showcasing one of her strongest creative periods and letting her storied voice cut loose on the material that earned her a Best New Artist Grammy in 2001.
While Lynne can crank up a brassy shout, she's a crooner at heart with a remarkable instrument, able to reach for a heartbroken plea and bring it home with supple, melodic turns. Her forays into more acoustic material of late has put the spotlight on her storyteller talents, but her homages to the likes of Dusty Springfield are never far off, and Lynne pulled out Springfield's take on "I Only Want To Be With You" mid-set on Saturday to keep that fire burning.
The "I Am" album got a full airing, staying relatively in order with a few detours, and Lynne's band, featuring some noteworthy lead work from Ben Peeler on guitar, held up well.
Editor's note: Our review credited the "Country in the City" music series to KCRW. The series is in fact funded by the Annenberg Foundation as part of its 25th anniversary celebration in conjunction with the "Country: Portraits of an American Sound" photo exhibition at the adjoining Annenberg Space for Photography, which is running through the summer. More information at their website. We apologize for the oversight.