December 30, 2005

2006: Looking ahead to Shawn Colvin

Looking glam Shawn! Shawn Colvin has been missing in action since about 2001, when she released her only weak record, Whole New You. Now she is poised, as they say, to make a return on the Nonesuch label in the first half of this year.

If you don't know Shawn, she is a folk/pop singer/ songwriter that I and many of my trolls have loved for many years - seen her in concert a zillion times, each one special. Her
Greatest Hits record is an excellent starting point and includes a nice, moody version of the The Beatles "I'll Be Back" (you know, it's one of those Beatles songs you don't know you know: "If you break my heart, I'll go, but I'll be back again..."). Her version reminds us that the Beatles wrote timeless melodies and lyrics, but her performance really makes it a Shawn song.

Aside from her beautiful voice and distinctive guitar playing, I am drawn to Shawn Colvin for her lyrics and melodies. Some of her tracks are story songs, like her most famous, "Sunny Came Home" about a wronged woman who burns down her house.

Others are deeply personal. Shawn is particularly good at nailing sadness with complete economy of words:.every one is perfectly placed. She has suffered from depression on and off for many years and even went on Oprah to talk about the moment she dropped to the brink of suicide, but found a tiny vice inside herself that told her she needed to get help. She had done what so many people do - gone off her meds, thinking that maybe this time she didn't really need them. She did. I personally feel her songs are not depressing, but comforting, because they ackowledge the truth of living - that it can be really fucking shitty, but you gotta keep slogging through.

The upcoming CD, as yet untitled, features such titles as "Summer Dress," "These Four Walls" and "Cinnamon Road" (the latter is inspired by Iron and Wine!). I really hope this is the Shawn we came to love in college. Below I will include one of my favorite lyrics, "Trouble," from 1996's masterpiece,
A Few Small Repairs.

As for my Top 10 (plus 1!) favorite Shawn Colvin tracks? Here they are:

Steady On
Shotgun Down The Avalanche
Round Of Blues
I Don't Know Why
Sunny Came Home
I'll Be Back
Climb On (A Back That's Strong)
One Cool Remove (with Mary Chapin Carpenter)
Suicide Alley

Read more about Shawn in a new
Rolling Stone article.


Jason said...

I disagree about "Whole New Year" being a weak record. I like every song on it! Especially "Bound to You" and "Nothing Like You"...

If any of Shawn's records are weak, it's "Cover Girl", man!

xolondon said...

Agreed on Cover Girl, but not on the last one. I find it uninspired and kind of dark in a blah way. It just lacks something that her other records have - but I am not sure how to explain it.

babs said...

What no diamond in the rough? Horrors. I like both Steady on and A Few Small Repairs in different ways.


xolondon said...

I forgot about Diamond!