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Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

Not Dark Yet – 2017 (Silver Cross)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer are two fiercely independent artists, so the eclectic song list on the sisters' collaborative album, "Not Dark Yet," should not shock or surprise anybody. However, the length these siblings have gone to prove their eclectic streak still may cause listeners to double check the album's writer credits.

Yes, there are country songs on this 10-song set, including Merle Haggard's evergreen "Silver Wings" and Townes Van Zandt's "Lungs." The song that stands out most strikingly, though, is Nick Cave's "Into My Arms." It's a song of deep love and devotion. Cave's lyric also includes some mighty deep theology wrapped in the guise of romance, though. "I don't believe in an interventionist God," one line goes, suggesting Dostoevsky as a pop songwriter, and continues, "But I know, darling, that you do." These expressive siblings sing these heartfelt lyrics over a sparse, keyboard-accented soul groove. This powerful song is followed directly by Nirvana's "Lithium." Combined with Sturgill Simpson's cover of that band's "In Bloom" a while ago shows, that at least for those a little left of Nashville, Kurt Cobain's raw honesty made an impact upon those with ears to hear.

The album closes with "Is It Too Much," a song the pair wrote together. And it's as emotionally gripping as any of the project's other notable covers, and reveals how they've learned well from their influences. These songs also tell us it's dark alright. But these performances are blindingly bright, indeed.