Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin is one of those artists who tends to rely greatly, on their own personal life and the impact of the experiences. How they got through the hard times and every now and again she will speak of how great life is!
Joining her on the Buddy Miller production she has as impressive collection of people lend support; Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Brian Blade, Bill Frisell, Victor Krauss, Jakob Dylan, Stuart Duncan plus Buddy’s wife, Julie Miller. Colvin’s wistful tones coupled with songs wrote by her (all but three of the 11 tracks bare her name as sole or co-writer) she utilises the experience from a career spanning over twenty years. It is twenty-three years since her debut album (Steady On). Recorded in Miller’s home studio, Colvin’s pluck is there for all to sample and savour. As she stands tall to speak of being on the road and how she has been let down in relationships (‘Knowing What I Know Now’) and how America’s ideals have slipped. As businessmen shape the world and morals have long since been disposed of as in ‘American Jerusalem’. The former has the unshaved harmony vocals of Miller give the song an edge the lyrics are worthy of. Miller is no stranger to her for alongside Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin she toured as part of Three Girls And Their Buddy. I wonder if someone did a recording of them live?
Colvin’s subtle twists in emotion, coupled with her ability to spill out her heart and gain a sympathetic and often a knowing ear help make her songs keepers. Like in the mellow, half-spoken opened ‘Anne Of The Thousand Days’ (a co-write with Frisell), and when it comes to something of a restless, searching for answers ‘Fall Of Rome’. Which etched in electric guitar, percussion and harmony vocals in aid her own assured tones it get one’s heart pulsating. For life hasn’t always been a bellyful of laughs (check out her memoir, Diamond In The Rough; William Morrow; Harper Collins) she tells us you can be happy on ‘Up On That Hill’ while for her closer she has the beautiful ‘On My Own.’ Supported by subtle acoustic guitar, steel guitar it speaks of how she feels like a baby boy just being born and of how she’s going to be on her own and how it is a long way home. Staying on the subject of her former love Shawn also speaks of how he gave no reason for stopping loving her, and if he does find his true love once again doesn’t do the same damn thing to them as he did to her. For even when he was with him she felt isolated and alone.
Throughout a career that has spawned three Grammys Colvin has stuck pretty much to the same people on her records; . One long-time associate is John Leventhal (he co-produced her career breaking album, Fat City with Larry Klein) with whom she co-wrote four songs on the record, one of them ‘Seven Times The Charm’ has Jakob Dylan join them.
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