AVON — Shelby Lynne is grateful. The singer-songwriter’s most recent release — a five-song EP that came out in December 2013 — is called “Thanks.” Lynne strives to embody a spirit of gratefulness every day, and she hopes others do the same.
“There’s so much to be thankful for,” Lynne said. “We live in the United States of America; we’re very fortunate.”
She knows perhaps more than most that life can be pretty horrible — her father killed her mother and then shot himself when she was 17.
But she also knows that life, her life, is pretty dang good. She gets to do what she loves — make music — for a living.
“I have the greatest job on earth, the opportunity to share music with people and hopefully make them feel better, hopefully every time I open my mouth,” she said. “To give people joy and help them feel good about music, it’s a good time.
“I think a lot of that (gratefulness) comes with age,” she said. “Older people always say that to you when you’re in your 20s — that there’s so much to be thankful for. And you’re like ‘shut the f*** up.’ But you get old enough and you realize there’s no reason to be here other than to be grateful.”
In an on-air PBS interview with Tavis Smiley, Lynne said the name of the album, “Thanks,” came from her song titled the same.
“The last few years I’ve done some soul searching,” she said. “I quit drinking. Put the bottle down. If I could continue to drink brown liquor and be productive, I would have. But it just wasn’t happening.”
The lyrics to the song are poignant: “Even though I didn’t want to show/ How I love you/ I’ve been wrong, misguided, made mistakes/ Been sick and frightened, oh what a waste/ You never asked me for a thing/ You just sit back and wait/ Until my eyes see through the gray/ And sing that song, been there all along/ Patient and loving/ Overlooking, my foolish showing/ Thanks.”
‘Might as well just chill’
Lynne performs in Avon today as part of the Reds, Whites & Brews Festival taking place at Nottingham Park.
She’s spent the last week in Louisiana recording a new album, which she hopes to release in spring 2015.
“I’ve been working on getting this one together for quite some time,” she said. “It’s layers. It’s always interesting to see what happens when you get a group of musicians together in a creative environment. Sometimes it’s worth the wait. That’s one thing I’ve learned in life: Nothing is going to happen before it’s time anyway, so you might as well just chill.”
And if you try to make it happen before it’s time?
“You just have a big mess,” she said.
Lynne released her last three albums on her own label, Everso Records, but said she’s “made a merger with another label, so (the next record) will be another thing. Details to follow.”
This October, Lynne will re-release her album “I Am Shelby Lynne,” with extra tracks and a documentary, she said. The alternative country album was originally released in the fall of 1999 in England and then in the U.S. in 2000. She nabbed a Grammy for Best New Artist in 2001, though she’d been singing and writing songs for a living for more than a decade at that point. “Thirteen years and six albums to get here,” said Lynne during her acceptance speech.
But it doesn’t matter how long it took, she’s still thankful.
High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.