Shelby Lynne (Photo By Gary Miller)
"This ain't no Margaret Mitchell." Ain't that the truth. This is Ava Gardner does Memphis. Shelby Lynne looks so much like Austin pop siren Trish Murphy, right down to the leprechaun stature and snow-white, airtight couture, it was déjà vu all over again, considering that Murphy bewitched the Doolittle day party gathering in the same location not 24 hours before. Since it was St. Paddy's Day, and it was Austin, Irish luck was with the DeVille bartenders, as their sole duty was to dole out sea-green margaritas to guests of the Interview magazine annual South by Southwest soirée. As the mingling grew hot and heavy, Lynne schmoozed Austin City Limits producer Terry Lickona. She ought to be hitting up KUT deejay Paul Ray, because the dusky, contemplative blue mood of last month's I Am Shelby Lynne (Island/Def Jam) is a natural for the noncommercial station's R&B-drenched Twine Time, even if he doesn't play anything released since Nixon resigned. Taking the stage around 5pm, Lynne and her six-piece band remade the album's string-heavy arrangements into a languid tapestry of brokenhearted keyboards and gently weeping guitar; leopard-skin cowboy hats should be removed to Wurlitzer/B-3 man Dan Eisenberg and Lucinda Williams vet and picker John Jackson for especially fluid turns. Opener "Should've Been Better" rocked more than the rest, but when Lynne spread that vocal honey over the Spectorian girl-group swells of "Your Lies Won't Leave Me" and the breathy, Aretha-like "I'm Leavin'," Lynne made Ally McBeal's Vonda Shepard seem like just another wannabe at the office karaoke party. Jackson's mean dobro on "Life Is Bad" tipped Lynne off, as she noted "You sound too good - you're not my band." Following that, "Gotta Get Back" and "Why Can't You Be" went heavy on the grits 'n' gravy, while the Paul Simon-esque "Lookin' Up" brought out the evening shade of Elizabeth Ashley. Closing with a dusky rendition of Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman," Lynne was suddenly the hottest bottle blonde in town. "I don't think I've ever played Austin before," she remarked. How much Dell stock would it take to get her to call the City Limits home permanently?