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Lynn comes off classy, yet rootsy

Troubadour, West Hollywood, Cal., January 26, 2019

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Lera Lynn took the stage at the historic Troubadour looking classy while wearing a beret. She then proceeded to perform a classy set of sophisticated, yet still rootsy, songs.

Lynn, who's gained added exposure recently with her role on the HBO series "True Detective," appeared a little like a classic character out of a film noir. One driving rocker, "Drive," even played out like an old crime movie scene put to music. Lynn's show fully took fire, though, with her performance of "Nothin' To Do With Your Love," a song she'd originally written and performed with JD McPherson on her "Plays Well With Others" release. Tonight, assisted by touring guitarist/vocalist Todd Lombard's tight vocal harmonies, it amounted to a performance reminiscent of the Everly Brothers.

Toward the end of this song, Lynn let her guard down a little and allowed her voice to soar beautifully. Lynn kept emotions just below the surface, though, when singing a duet on "When I Go" with Thomas Dybdahl, who also opened the show.

Lynn closed the night with "Whiskey," which she said was one of the first songs she ever wrote. it was a heartbreaking country drinking song. The song's recording plays up its honky-tonk inspiration, complete with pedal steel guitar. Live, however, it's more stripped down, yet still emotionally devastating.

Dybdahl opened this acoustic show in front of a rare seated Troubadour audience. He seemed sincerely surprised at how familiar this hip Los Angeles audience was with his music. He sang about love and romance, sometimes in a hushed tone, with songs like "Cecilia." He also performed songs inspired by his travels, which included "One Day You'll Dance for Me, New York City." Dybdahl is both a skilled guitarist and naturally talented vocalist, which is likely why famed producer Larry Klein produced his recent "All These Things" album with the help of a talented group of musicians.

Los Angeles sometimes has a reputation for being a shallow place, filled with shallow people. (It was also, by the way, the setting for many of the best Film Noir examples). However, this night, which featured two deep-thinking songwriters, drew a rapt and like-minded audience.