Sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer bring an imperfect country intimacy to the new Not Dark Yet | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer bring an imperfect country intimacy to the new Not Dark Yet

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On the new Not Dark Yet (Silver Cross/Thirty Tigers), their first collaborative album, sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer don’t harmonize in the manner of other famous country siblings, such as the Delmore or Louvin Brothers. Though the two of them grew up singing together, their approach is intuitive, so at certain moments emotion supplants technique (including on an intimately ragged cover of Nirvana’s “Lithium”). Produced by Teddy Thompson, Not Dark Yet was recorded in Los Angeles with a top-notch cast of players, and though it feels loose, it’s not a tossed-off effort. In the best parts, including a rough-hewn take on the Louvin classic “Every Time You Leave,” the two voices coalesce in a way that seems both casual and sisterly. The bulk of the record reaches into country history, with covers of tunes by Jessi Colter (“I’m Looking for Blue Eyes”), Townes Van Zandt (“Lungs”), and Merle Haggard (“Silver Wings”), but the sisters also transform less obvious songs—for example, Nick Cave’s stark, harrowing “Into My Arms.” Lynne and Moorer no doubt feel a deep connection to the material, but it ultimately seems secondary to the bond between them.   v

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