The year was 2000. I Am Shelby Lynne, the singer-songwriter's declaration of independence after a career of genre-hopping and commercial frustration, had finally established her soulful, sultry country persona. At last, she didn't need to listen to the charts or the label heads anymore -- she was her own woman, right? Ironically, despite her Best New Artist Grammy, Lynne has subsequently floundered, again self-consciously grasping at styles and marketing maneuvers. Love, Shelby was a disastrous follow-up, wherein Lynne awkwardly tried to play the sex mama while backed by Glen Ballard's sheen-heavy pop. Since that debacle (both commercially and creatively), Lynne's momentum deservedly stalled. As reconciliation, she has returned with more modest, rootsy albums, such as this year's Suit Yourself, hoping that adult audiences who wanted her to be Dusty Springfield and not Britney Spears will somehow forgive her. Prophetically, her best record's title sums up her problem: It's called Identity Crisis.
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