Some of the best country music is about heartbreak. Heartbreak presupposes that there once was a whole heart, which is what gives this kind of music beauty. Shelby Lynne’s new album tackles heartbreak from start to finish, which now seems not so strange for someone who once sang a duet with country’s saddest and most heart-rending drunk, George Jones. Then again, there’s Lynne’s own horrific family history. Google it, but here’s the spoiler: Her dad shot her mom and then himself. In front of a 17-year-old Shelby. Not a happy story.

Lynne has transmuted this darkness into an approachable singing style and listenable album. One note before getting to the songs, however, must be made about the album’s fine instrumentation. Tears, Lies & Alibis is sparse with just a few instruments, notably her own nylon-string acoustic strumming with touches of slide guitar and piano for effect. It’s a great thing when the piano and drums kick in on “Like a Fool.”

The songs themselves reveal skilled craftwork, but in the end a few songs really stand out. The opener is a surprisingly buoyant number called “Rains Came,” which also sets out one of the album’s main motifs: rain. The gem for me is “Alibi,” half for its cool phasered electric guitar and half for Lynne’s deft mix of melancholy and sarcasm: “I cry and look out the window/And I just can’t wait to hear your alibi.” Rain, tears and whiskey. This album’s got all of that.

Grade: B

Tears, Lies, and Alibis is currently available.