Life should’ve been a cakewalk for alt-country queen Shelby Lynne after the 2008 release of her acclaimed tribute to Dusty Springfield, “Just a Little Lovin’.’” At first, it was. The part-time actress landed a TV role on “Army Wives,” but her luck turned as she frittered away a year trying to pen a follow-up CD. Once “Tears, Lies and Alibis” was written and self-produced — using stellar Muscle Shoals musicians David Hood and Spooner Oldham — her imprint insisted on recruiting a producer to tinker with it. The firebrand, who instead launched her own company, plays San Francisco next week.
So you’ve formed a label, Everso Records. Was it easy or difficult? It’s easy. Easier than dealing with a big label. Now I don’t have 14 hands that know nothing to have to go through — I have a small circle of people that believe in the cause, it’s my money, and I can actually get things done in a 24-hour period.
Why did your old label argue over a name-brand producer? That’s the norm. But the difference between me and a lot of acts is, they go along with it. But I just won’t. I’m too old and set in my ways, and I can make a record just fine without some fancy name on it. I mean, how much better is something going to get with a fancy name attached to it? What you’ll get is more debt, until you go broke and never make any money. And that’s what labels’ goals are. So no more for this gal!
Was your song “Loser Dreamer” the breakthrough track? Then the rest of “Tears” just flowed? It was one of the first. But the sentiment of the song, more than anything, is what got me going — not the melody. I mean, I’m a loser-dreamer, I know a ton of loser-dreamers, and I dedicated this album to loser-dreamers. We’re all in it for the cause. It’s what we’re doing because we love it, not because we’re getting rich.
Are you still acting? Only if the right thing comes along. I mean, I’m not sitting around waiting on the phone to ring for roles, by any means. But if the right thing comes along, I’ll look at it.
Do you still have your garden out in Palm Desert? Yeah! I’ve always had a garden, ever since I was 20. I have to have some kind of closeness to the earth, so gardening is really therapeutic for me.
IF YOU GO
Where: Yoshi’s San Francisco, 1330 Fillmore St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
Contact: (415) 655-5600, www.yoshis.com