16 September 2007

And I know where you live, and I know who you are, don’t get too close and don’t go too far…

You will forgive me for talking about Shawn Colvin again this week. I know, I know, I mentioned her last week after my trip to Santa Barbara where I bought her latest CD, These Four Walls. While I had a listen to it on the way back to LA it was only a passing listen in a noisy top up convertible going 80 miles an hour – hardly the time to really HEAR the music – but just enough to know I would enjoy a real sit-down with it. Boy did I ever.

I’m a little obsessed right now. It started Wednesday morning when I hopped in Abby’s VW Cabrio, Hamish, to avoid having to park my 12 year old Cherokee in a neighbourhood behind work that has street cleaning. A small car means I might be able to fit into the last available all day space and avoid another ticket. While driving my car, The Big Red Onion (named after my favourite bar, and former brothel, in Alaska) I listen to my old shuffle since my changer is way in the back and hard to access when parked in my garage. Since I was driving her car I thought I would take advantage of the easy to access in dash CD player. I pulled a couple of CD’s to listen to that would get me through my 25 minute each way commute – one was These Four Walls.

I had every intention of listening to another CD, I swear I did, but it never happened. For 3 days straight all I wanted to hear was Shawn’s voice. This might be one of her best pieces of work ever. I think her having a kid, not writing for three years and the general process of getting older really shaped the sounds and phrases of this CD; it’s a journey she takes you on down a river of time that far outreaches four walls.

Her narrative consists of truthfulness, honesty, admissions of childhood abuse, and tomboy toughness as evidenced in the song “Tuff Kid”. She writes “my momma had me, but she didn’t get me, I guess I broke her at the age of 5, my Daddy hit me, but he couldn’t quit me, we showed each other how to feel alive…” She takes the good with the bad and clearly knows how to forgive and love those around her – and write a damn good song while she’s at it.

In “Summer Dress” we hear the fond reminiscence of a young girl setting out on her own to face the world leaving the comforts of Carbondale, Illinois to follow her dreams. “I put on my finest Summer Dress, so light and thin it was my best, I brushed my hair I held my breath I went out to face the wilderness, I went out to face the wilderness. The men in hats the boys on bikes, the perfect girls, the baby dykes, the superstars the blighted ones, I went out to face them one by one, I went out to face them one by one. Goodbye MaryAnne, as you turn to watch me, don’t cry MaryAnne, and don’t try to stop me…” Yes, on paper, this could remind you of Nanci Griffith’s “There’s a Light Beyond These Woods (Mary Margaret)” but in reality I think at some point in all of our writing processes we write a song like this. If we haven’t – we should.

I could go on and on singing the praises of this fine CD and believe me when I tell you it’s hard to stop writing about it. From the first song, today’s title tune, “Fill Me Up” to the very last desert like special – her cover of the Bee Gees “Words” (it is as if we have been treated to a surprise live performance - using just guitar and voice in it’s simplicity is quite simply brilliant and adds some credence to what I once thought of as a cheesy song) you wont be disappointed. You may even become obsessed, wanting more – like a movie you don’t want to end. At the very least you will be glad you spent your hard earned cash. www.shawncolvin.com or www.myspace.com/shawncolvinmusic

I have an old friend in town, Laura, we’ve been friends forever like Shawn and MaryAnne and I’m going to get going here. Yesterday I took her to Santa Barbara so she could touch the Pacific Ocean for the first time – today we’re staying closer to home and heading out to Santa Monica…..but it’s time to hang with her so I’m taking off…y’all have a great week!!!

Thanks for tuning in…Until next Sunday….CHEERS!!!

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