Shawn Colvin: A Few Small Repairs 20th Anniversary Tour with Special Guests Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams
With her inimitable voice and matchless guitar stylings, three-time Grammy Award winner Shawn Colvin stands out as singular and enduring talent.
Shawn Colvin is one of the leading lights of the so-called “new folk movement” that began in the late ’80s. Although she grew out of the somewhat limited “woman with a guitar” school, she kept the form fresh with a diverse approach, avoiding the genre’s clichéd sentiments and all-too-often formulaic arrangements in favor of a more personal, pop-influenced style. Colvin‘s debut record won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1991, but it was her 1997 single, “Sunny Came Home,” that firmly catapulted her into the mainstream.
“…extraordinary songs, mesmerizing guitar playing, and a voice that goes effortlessly from bruise-tender to scar-hard in a matter of minutes…her lyrics are crafted and clever, full of subtlety and polished phrases…With delicious sarcasm and acerbic stories, she held the audience spellbound…her songs are so personal to her that they speak to everyone who listens.” -The Guardian
In an era when female singer-songwriters are ever more ubiquitous, Shawn Colvin stands out as a singular and enduring talent. Her songs are slow-release works of craft and catharsis that become treasured, lifetime companions for their listeners. As a storyteller, Colvin is both keen and warm-hearted, leavening even the toughest tales with tenderness, empathy, and a searing sense of humor.
In late 1996, Colvin released A Few Small Repairs, having written the album during the midst of a painful divorce. A Few Small Repairs became a hit over the course of 1997, due in part to the success of “Sunny Came Home” on the pop charts. In 1998, “Sunny Came Home” won two Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and A Few Small Repairs became her first album to reach platinum status.
In June 2016, Shawn Colvin and longtime friend Steve Earle united to release, Colvin & Earle, their acclaimed self-titled duo album (Fantasy Records). Fueled by their mutual admiration, Colvin & Earle beautifully captures the pair’s extraordinary chemistry and is a true standout in careers already filled with pinnacles and masterpieces. The album received high praise from critics – NPR asserted that the duo “Elevated their collaboration to the level of top-flight album-making, bringing seemingly opposing impulses to the process.”
Shawn was recently recognized for her career accomplishments when she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Trailblazer Award at the 2016 Americana Honors & Awards Show, held at Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium on September 21st, 2016. Presenting Colvin with this prestigious award was Bonnie Raitt. Of Shawn, Raitt said “She’s simply one of the best singers I’ve ever heard— and a truly gifted and deep songwriter and guitarist… She was groundbreaking when she emerged and continues to inspire me and the legions of fans and other singer/songwriters coming up in her wake”
Shawn continues to tour nonstop throughout the year and over the years she has shared the stage with such legendary artists as Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Don Henley and Judy Collins.
Special Guest Openers – Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams
Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Larry Campbell and singer-guitarist Teresa Williams’ acclaimed eponymous 2015 debut, released after seven years of playing in Levon Helm’s band – and frequent guesting with Phil Lesh, Little Feat, Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady, brought to the stage the crackling creative energy of a decades-long offstage union. A whirlwind of touring and promo followed, and when the dust cleared, the duo was ready to do it all again. Which brings us to Contraband Love, a riskier slice of Americana.
Larry, who produced Contraband Love, says, “I wanted this record to be a progression, bigger than the first one. That’s all I knew. I wanted the songwriting to be deeper, the arrangements more interesting, the performances more dynamic. Specifically how to get there, I didn’t know. I did know the songs were different. The subject matter was darker than anything else I’ve written.”
“More painful!” Teresa says, and laughs.
“Yeah,” Larry says with a smile. “I’m proud of our debut, but I felt like the songs were lighter than what I’m capable of doing. As a songwriter, I aspire to a sense of uniqueness: this is a great song and it could only have been written by me. I want to get there. It’s a journey, a goal, a pursuit. The mechanics of that pursuit are figuring out what you need to do to surpass your last body of work.”
Although it was not his conscious intent, three of the eight tunes Campbell penned for Contraband Love deal either obliquely or directly with various emotions surrounding addiction. For the blues rocking “Three Days in A Row,” he authoritatively delves into the crucial first seventy-two hours directly following an addict going cold turkey in an effort to get clean. “I was thinking about the things I’ve quit in my life,” he says. “The last time was cigarettes. I remembered the dreams I had in withdrawal.” Vintage-sounding country nugget “Save Me from Myself” (featuring Little Feat’s Bill Payne on piano) explores a troubled soul’s heartrending knowledge that they are hard to love. “I’ve certainly felt both sides of that situation,” Larry says, “and observed it many times.” Delicate waltz “Contraband Love,” a captivating vocal showcase for Teresa, takes on the other side of the story, when a parent (or spouse, or friend, etc.) realizes their only recourse for dealing with an addict is merely to stand “with arms wide open.” Of this remarkable piece, Larry says, “That melody would not leave me alone. It’s one of the more unique songs I’ve ever written.”