“It’s kind of like breathing,” Moorer said in her soft Alabama drawl.
Decades into their celebrated solo recording careers, Moorer and Lynne finally released their first album together this year, the critically acclaimed “Not Dark Yet.”
A collection of nine of their favorite songs plus one original track, the album took little rehearsal, Moorer said. The sisters fell back into their childhood routine.
“Music was our very first way of communicating,” Moorer said. “That’s still there, and that is a gift.”
Moorer and Lynne will perform the album in its entirety on Wednesday at the Vermilionville Performance Center in Lafayette.
As solo artists, Moorer and Lynne have recorded more than 20 albums. They both have soulful, Southern voices, and have found success in the country and Americana worlds. Moorer was nominated for an Oscar for her original song, “A Soft Place to Fall.” Lynne won a Grammy for best new artist in 2001.
They always planned to record together, but found little time to co-write, Moorer said.
“Sometimes we don’t get to be together as much as we want,” Moorer said. “We live on two different coasts. We have lives we have to navigate.”
On “Not Dark Yet,” Moorer and Lynne transform the lyrics of other artists into deeply personal works. They open the album with the Killers’ “My List.”
Originally a swelling rock track, the song becomes an intimate duet. “Don’t give the ghost up. Just clench your fist,” they sing together. “You should know by now. You were on my list.”
“When I heard that song, it was the perfect way to describe a relationship that is just sort of carved in stone,” Moorer said. “What is the saying? 'You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.' I wouldn’t pick anyone else to be my sister. God did me right on that one.”
Their family’s story has been told many times. When Moorer was 14 and Lynne 17, their father shot their mother and then turned the gun on himself.
Both have addressed the tragedy in their solo work. On “Not Dark Yet,” they examine their relationship in the aftermath with an original work, “Is It Too Much?”
“No one else sees the memories,” they sing to one another. “No one else lives it with me. Is it too much to carry in your heart?”
Those are lines only they could have written.
“That kind of tells it all, doesn’t it?” Moorer said.
The album’s title track is the Bob Dylan song “Not Dark Yet.” They also perform Nick Cave’s “Into My Arms” and Nirvana’s “Lithium,” a song that took one take in the studio. They play it loose, like Kurt Cobain did.
“That’s us just having fun,” Moorer said. “I think you can tell we’re having fun. We’ve taken it to another couple of levels playing it live.”
On tour, they are writing songs for the next album. They always planned to follow up with original material, and the reception they have received for their new record has encouraged them.
“What solidified our plan to make another record was how much fun we had when we started playing these songs,” Moorer said. “We just love each other, and we’re at the top of the list for each other and love playing music together. Why not keep it going as long as we can?”
An Evening with Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Vermilionville Performance Center, 300 Fisher Road, Lafayette
INFO: Visit vermilionville.org or call (337) 233-4984.