Shawn Colvin is one of the bright spots of the so-called "new folk movement" that began in the late '80s. In less than a decade of recording, Colvin has emerged as a respected singer songwriter, which has earned her a broad and loyal following. Born in Vermillion, South Dakota on January 10, 1956. By the age of ten, she found a passion for music, teaching herself guitar. After moving to London, Ontario and then Carbondale, Illinois, Colvin formed the Shawn Colvin Band, a hard rock outfit, whose high-energy demands soon strained her voice. She moved to Austin, Texas and joined the Western swing band the Dixie Diesels, singing with the band until nodes forced a temporary retirement at age 24. In 1983, she moved to New York, where she found a home in the city's singer/songwriter scene, building a following in New York and Boston through constant gigs. Through the '80s she worked her way up the folk circuit. Her work appeared in Fast Folk Magazine, and she got her first break in 1987 singing backup on Suzanne Vega's hit "Luka."
By 1988, she found a song writing partner in John Leventhal, (Marc Cohn & Roseanne Cash) Colvin providing the lyrics to his melodies. A live tape sold at gigs (Live '88) attracted the attention of Columbia Records, who signed her the same year in the wake of success from like-minded performers Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, and the Indigo Girls. Steady On, released in 1989, won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Colvin's 1992 follow-up, the more pop-oriented Fat City, earned her two more nominations -- Best Contemporary Folk Recording and Best Female Pop Vocal for the single "I Don't Know Why" -- as well as considerable critical praise and a growing crossover audience.
Cover Girl, an album of cover songs, met with mixed reviews and modest sales in 1994, but she again earned a nominated for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. In late 1996, Colvin released A Few Small Repairs. In addition to her normal recording activities, Colvin has dueted with Tony Bennett for the film It Could Happen to You and made a cameo appearance in the film Grace of My Heart, singing one song for the soundtrack. She also features on the soundtrack to Serendipity, with the unavailable elsewhere track "When You Know"
A Few Small Repairs slowly became a hit over the course of 1997, thanks to strong word of mouth and the single "Sunny Came Home." In 1998, "Sunny Came Home" won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Holiday Songs and Lullabies followed that autumn. As the title suggests this was Shawn's interpretations of songs such as "In the bleak midwinter" and "Silent Night". It was dedicated to her recently born daughter, Callie.
"A Whole New You" was released March 26th 2001 . The album reunited the partnership between Shawn and John Levanthal.
A retrospective "Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection" was released at the end of 2004, featuring 14 tracks culled from Shawns back catalogue plus one new track - a cover of the Lennon / McCartney song (Or should that be McCartney / Lennon) "I'll Be Back"A companion DVD release is available in the US which features promo videos and live performances.
After a sixteen year stay at Columbia, Shawn was dropped by the label.
She has now signed with Warners' Nonesuch, who released the album "These Four Walls" on September 18th 2006. The album includes a version of The Bee Gees "Word's", Marc Cohn duets with Shawn on Cinnamon Road, which also features Patty Griffin, and Teddy Thompson helps out on "Let It Slide"
On Monday 18th September Shawn played a one off gig at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London. It was a solo performance, with old favourites like Polaroids, Round of Blues ,Shotgun down the avalanche, and of course, Sunny Came Home, as well as tracks from the new album which was released that very day. As always Shawn was telling stories between songs and the sell out audience was treated to a fantastic performance. She even performed the song which she did for the TV show "The Simpson's"
- Friday 25th September 2015 saw the release of "Uncovered". It came 21 years after "Cover Girl" and again its Shawns interpretations of songs by, amongst others, Neil Finn (Private Universe), Gerry Rafferty (Baker Street) and Bruce Springsteen (Tougher Than The Rest).
- The album sees Shawn reunited with Steuart Smith, and features guest vocals by David Crosby and Marc Cohn.
- In 2016 Shawn released an album with self confessed Country bad boy Steve Earle. Featuring a handful of songs written by the pairing, and others by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and Emmylou Harris. The download version added bonus tracks Someday, That Dont Worry Me Now and Baby's In Black.
UK CD single "Fill Me Up"
Included the non album track "Wild Country"
Withdrawn UK CD single. This should have been the second single taken from "These Four Walls"
For Some unknown reason the release was pulled
A two track single "Let It Slide" (Radio Edit)
and "I'm Gone" (Album Version)
Promo flat for the "Cover Girl" album
Signed at a gig at the Birmingham Irish Centre
- How many more CD's do I have to sign ??
- Photos from the Bloomsbury gig.
Promo Flyer for 1997 gigs and the
upcoming release of the
"Sunny Came Home" single
Note that the original "A Few Small Repairs"
album artwork is reproduced at the bottom
right of the flyer.
On later pressings of the album this was
changed, and the main picture on the flyer
was used instead.
- Steady On
- (Columbia 1989)
- Fat City
- (Columbia 1992)
- Cover Girl
- (Columbia 1994)
- Live 1988
- (Plumb 1995 - despite the title !!)
- A Few Small Repairs
- (Columbia 1996)
- Holiday Songs and Lullabies
- (Columbia 1998)
- A Whole New You
- (Columbia 2001)Polaroids - The Greatest Hits Collection
These Four Walls
- (Fantasy 2015)Colvin And Earle
Shawn Colvin And Steve Earle
This page last updated
Sunday 25th June 2017
© A S Mackness 2009