For $30 I played four 45-minute sets.
Shawn Colvin (b. Shawna Lee Colvin on 1/10/56,) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. While Colvin has been a solo recording artist for decades, she is best known for her 1998 Grammy Award-winning song “Sunny Came Home“. She in Vermillion, South Dakota, and spent her youth in Carbondale, Illinois and London, Ontario, Canada. She is the second of four children. She learned to play guitar at the age of 10 and grew up listening to her father’s collection of music, which included artists such as Pete Seeger and the Kingston Trio.
Her first paid gig came just after she started college at Southern Illinois University. With a strip of bars down the main street it wasn’t difficult to find a gig. For the next year she was either playing somewhere or sitting in with someone else and started attracting a local following. Broadening her horizons, Colvin put a band together that featured Dennis Conroy (formerly with the popular Chicago band The Cryan’ Shames), Jack O’Boyle on guitar and Brian Sandstrom on bass. For six months they expanded their base throughout Illinois. But Colvin’s personal demons coupled with drug and alcohol use curtailed their success.
Her next shot came with the Dixie Diesels, a Carbondale country-swing outfit. They were short a girl singer and she jumped at the opportunity. The band had decided if they were going to make it, Carbondale was not the place and planned to relocate to Austin. This was Colvin’s ticket out of that charmless city. She then entered “the folk circuit in and around Berkeley”, California before straining her vocal cords and taking a sabbatical at the age of 24.
Colvin relocated to New York City, joining the Buddy Miller Band in 1980 and later became involved in the Fast Folk cooperative of Greenwich Village. While participating in off-Broadway shows such as Pump Boys and Dinettes she was featured in Fast Folk magazine, and in 1987, producer Steve Addabbo hired her to sing backup vocals on the song “Luka” by Suzanne Vega.
After touring with Vega, Colvin signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and released her debut album Steady On in 1989. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Colvin’s second album Fat City was released in 1992 and received a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Her song “I Don’t Know Why” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Female Pop Vocal category. In 1993 she moved back to Austin and in 1994 released the album Cover Girl. In 1995 Colvin released her album Live 88 a collection of live recordings from 1988.
In 1996, Colvin released her album A Few Small Repairs and in 1997 the success of her single “Sunny Came Home” catapulted her into the mainstream after spending four weeks at the number one spot on the Adult Contemporary chart. The song won the 1998 Grammy Awards for both Song and Record of the Year. Colvin released the album Holiday Songs and Lullabies in 1998 and in 2001 released another album called Whole New You. In 2004, she released a compilation of past songs called, Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection.
In 2006, Colvin left Columbia Records and released a 15-song album called These Four Walls on her new label, Nonesuch Records, which featured contributions by Patty Griffin and Teddy Thompson. In 2009 she released Live, which was recorded at the jazz club Yoshi’s in Oakland, California.
Colvin’s eighth studio album, All Fall Down, was released in 2012 and was produced by Buddy Miller at his home studio in Nashville, Tennessee. The album featured guest appearances by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Jakob Dylan. In 2016 she recorded an album with Steve Earle called Colvin and Earle. A Few Small Repairs was reissued in 2017, including its first pressing on vinyl, for its 20th anniversary.
Colvin has made vocal contributions to songs by James Taylor, Béla Fleck, Edwin McCain, Shawn Mullins, Elliott Murphy, Bruce Hornsby and collaborated with Sting on the song “One Day She’ll Love Me.” She recorded as a duet the title track to Curtis Stigers 1995 album “Time Was”. Colvin voiced Rachel Jordan, Ned Flanders’ love interest after Maude is killed, in the Simpsons episode “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily” on February 13, 2000 and lent her vocals to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s 1992 recordings, “The Hard Way” and “Come On Come On.”
Compilations = 2
Other contributions = 28
Some things to share:
Colvin has been married twice, first to Simon Tassano in 1993 whom she divorced in 1995, and to photographer Mario Erwin, whom she married in 1997 and divorced in 2002. She gave birth to daughter Caledonia in July 1998.
Colvin says she has struggled on and off with depression, alcoholism, and anxiety. She has written about these struggles in her 2012 memoir Diamond in the Rough, published by HarperCollins.
Official website: here
I just happened across her excellent cover of one of my (many) favorite Bruce Springsteen tunes: