‘Steady On" | VailDaily.com

‘Steady On"

Staff Reports

Shawn Colvin has long been known as a pioneer in the movement for women to empower and share themselves through song.Now local fans can tap into that wellspring of emotion and inspiration during two shows at the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek at 7:30 both Tuesday and Wednesday nights, March 4-5.Instrumental in the evolution of the female-oriented Lilith Fair, a concert series that brought the best and brightest female songwriters together to play to sell-out crowds, Colvin is a double Grammy-winner with her own stellar credentials.Already a capable and adaptive guitarist, Colvin began her career playing solo shows almost every night in the fertile Greenwich Village clubs and cafes. This new voice did not go undiscovered. A tape of one of Colvin’s solo performances led to a contract with Columbia Records in 1987, and, in 1989, her first album, “Steady On”, won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording.With the pressure of critical success in the foreground, Colvin was admittedly uneasy about the quality of her second album, 1992’s “Fat City”. Working around deadlines, forcing herself to complete the many songs she started but never finished, “Fat City” revealed to the listening public that Colvin was improving and maturing as a songwriter continuing to carve her own niche. For the effort, she received two Grammy nominations.After “Fat City”, Colvin took a break from producing original material. “Cover Girl” in 1994 was a collection of stripped-down covers Colvin intended as a tribute to the artists who inspired her early in her career. Among the tracks is a rendition of The Police’s “Every Little Thing (He) Does Is Magic” and a very solid acoustic version of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”.Music fans who had not yet heard of Colvin did in 1996. She recorded her fourth album on Columbia, “A Few Small Repairs”, in an intensely emotional state. Crawling through a dissolving marriage, Colvin turned introspective in an attempt to come to terms with the pain and self-doubt she experienced. The metaphor-laden “Sunny Came Home”, her most commercially successful song, won a Grammy for Song of the Year and helped “A Few Small Repairs” win the Album of the Year award.Almost five years passed before Colvin was ready to head back into the studio. In the absence, Colvin became a mother, a wife, and grew spiritually and emotionally. The album, “Whole New You”, implies the changes she underwent in her time off. The opening track, “A Matter of Minutes”, brings back the painful memories of her past and then straightforwardly exorcises them. James Taylor joins her on the surreal and haunting “Boneyards”. Most of the remaining tracks are upbeat and carry the album from depressing retrospection toward her hopeful and positive new stance. Her happiness is most apparent in the life-affirming title track, “Whole New You”, and in the Sheryl Crow-esque “Anywhere You Go”.Colvin’s subject material, while naturally sensitive, isn’t designed to intimidate male listeners or make them feel out of element. But many female listeners find in Colvin’s music a source of inspiration and wisdom, a maternal and conscientious voice that can easily be trusted and believed. Her guitar playing hasn’t slipped, either. Colvin’s notes are clean and accurate, and she skillfully conveys an exact mood and tone that matches her vocal effect.Tickets for the shows are $48. Call 845-TIXS or check out shawncolvin.com.

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