The best way to describe the pint-sized vocalist Shelby Lynne Moorer's physicality is as follows: Imagine you had Kelly Ripa in your living room, and imagine that living room was in small-town Alabama. Next imgine you plop a fifth of Jack and a pack of Marlboros in front of Ms. Ripa, force her to ingest half of each, dress her up in denim and leather fuck-me boots with six-inch heels, and unleash her on a stripper pole in a roadhouse deep in the woods, back where the stop signs say "whoa!" That's Shelby Lynne, and that's a whole lot hotter than Miss Ripa at her most chipper.
Last night, Shelby Lynne (she drops the Moorer from her stage name; her similarly accomplished sister, Allison, doesn't) road-tested her upcoming album of Dusty Springfield covers in front of an attentive, packed audience of media and industry types at the Triple Door (photo above by 'Lil Scoop). Beginning her set by awakening from a jazzy nap -- albeit a pleasant one -- things picked up considerably when Shelby broke into the British country-soul queen's "Breakfast In Bed." During this number, Shelby and her powerful, husky voice owned the room, and heads were bobbing in the meticulously swank subterranean nightclub.
Would that moments like these were a bit more frequent throughout her hour-long set, which tended more toward Springfield's mellower fare. It's impressive that Shelby has this more relaxed club in her bag, but her failure to perform "Son of a Preacher Man" was criminal -- not because it was Springfield's biggest hit, but because it's the track that would have made the best use of Shelby's gifts onstage. If it's not on the album, which is due out in February, that's fine -- it's an artistic choice. But for Shelby not to perform it live is an act of pointless restraint.