Essential New Music: Shelby Lynne & Allison Moorer’s “Not Dark Yet”

While Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer haven’t exactly been strangers—they’ve shared stages and haunted each other’s songs—the sisters’ solo careers have seldom been in sync. Lynne first hit the country charts in 1988, but by the time Moorer followed suit 10 years later, Lynne had moved on to pop-soul—and they’ve hopscotched from genre to genre ever since. All of their differences fall away on their first full-length collaboration, where their voices blend together beautifully. It’s no surprise that the title track, a latter-day Dylan gem, is lovely; that Lynne and Moorer’s take on the Killers’ “My List” sounds similarly stately is a testament to their restraint. That holds true for the spare piano-and-guitar arrangement of Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms” and the set’s lone original, “Is It Too Much.” The only misstep is a discordant take on Nirvana’s “Lithium,” which somehow manages to be both eerily faithful and dizzily busy. Still, when Lynne and Moorer howl in unison, you can’t fault them for chasing the harmless high and holy daze that only close sibling harmonies can induce.

M.J. Fine