I Should Be Blue

Sid Selvidge

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I Should Be Blue Review

by James Allen

The 2009 passing of legendary producer/musician Jim Dickinson sent a wave of sadness through the music world, and one of the tragedy's many ripple effects was on Dickinson's longtime Memphis pal/collaborator Sid Selvidge. After Dickinson's death, singer/songwriter/guitarist Selvidge decided to take a new approach to his music by working with some new folks -- another famed Southern producer, Don Dixon (R.E.M., Smithereens, et al.), and singer Amy Speace. Dixon lends an appropriately warm, organic feel to I Should Be Blue, which finds Selvidge tackling mostly cover tunes and duetting with Speace on four tracks. Anyone who has ever been entranced by the folk-blues fingerpicking style and husky, soulful singing of Chris Smither (yet another Southerner) will find an easy entry point into Selvidge's not-dissimilar style. His woodsmoke voice brings a lived-in vibe to the likes of Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis," Fred Neil's "The Dolphins," and Tim Hardin's "Don't Make Promises (You Can't Keep)," easily tapping into the deep blue feelings at their core. All the aforementioned songs have been heavily covered over the years, but Selvidge still manages to bring something fresh to them. And while Amy Speace's bell-like tones make for an effective musical foil on tunes like Townes Van Zandt's "I'll Be Here in the Morning," Selvidge is a stylist fully capable of standing on his own throughout most of I Should Be Blue. The few original tunes are well-crafted, but there's no getting around the fact that they're inevitably doomed to stepchild status when stacked up alongside a cherry-picked batch of some of the greatest tunes ever written.

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