Music: Blows Against The Empire

Two Nashville outcasts score on their own terms

The Nashville skyline beckons like a shimmering Oz to lots of young country musicians, but for Shelby Lynne and Neko Case, it's a cityscape better seen from a rearview mirror. Working outside the country- music capital, the two singer-songwriters have each released breakthrough albums that go to the heart of Nashville by redefining what a country song can be.

Lynne's new work, I Am Shelby Lynne (Island DefJam), takes its name from the closing line of a letter she wrote to her manager just before she moved out of Nashville. "I wanted to thank him for letting me be me," Lynne...

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