Opera House: An Evening With Shawn Colvin

Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin at historic Sheridan Opera House, Monday, 12/29, 8:30 p.m. Tickets,$30 and $40 reserved seats available online here. 

Shawn Colvin

Shawn Colvin

Shawn Colvin stands out as a singular and enduring talent thanks to the keen, warm-hearted storytelling in her songwriting and in performance.

In the 23 years since the release of her debut album, Colvin has won three Grammy Awards, released 10 albums, maintained a non-stop national and international touring schedule, appeared on countless television and radio programs, had her songs featured in major motion pictures, and created a remarkable canon of work.

On her most recent release, All Fall Down, Colvin enlisted her long-time friend and occasional bandmate Buddy Miller, as her producer.

The sessions, at Miller’s home studio in Nashville, Tennessee, were distinguished, as Colvin describes them, by a kind of back-porch bonhomie. An open-door policy encouraged drop-ins from a number of stellar musicians, including singers Emmylou Harris, Allison Krauss, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Jakob Dylan as well as fiddle-player extraordinaire Stuart Duncan. The easygoing atmosphere, however, did not prevent the incisive Colvin, on these 11 new tracks, from examining some hard cold truths.

Artfully pared-down arrangements mirror the compelling emotional directness of Colvin’s songs, in which she addresses the dissolution of a relationship with the sort of dry-eyed candor that has long been a hallmark of her work. The material often took shape with Colvin performing live in the studio, singing and playing acoustic guitar, and the tracks were then subtly embellished by an impressive ad hoc combo Miller had convened, featuring Bill Frisell on electric guitar, Viktor Krauss on bass, and Brian Blade on drums.

“I didn’t have a specific theme in mind when I started writing,” Colvin admits, “but I think the album is imbued with a sense of loss. I had gone through a relationship that didn’t work out. I’m getting older and so are my parents. So it’s a kind of breakup album, if you will. Not quite about reflection as much as it is about working through something painful. It portrays a sense of loss and redemption and “—she hastens to add—“resolution.”

The frankness in Colvin’s work has always been tempered by humor and a gift for finding strong, simple melodies. She’s not one to directly take on social or political issues, but she’s bracingly honest about her own travails (and triumphs) and that resonates with her listeners. As she explains, “

“This is how I write. I don’t know how to make something personal and evocative that is a protest, a complaint or finger-pointing—unless it’s to a bad guy in a personal relationship.”

Given Colvin’s approach to her music, it’s no surprise she agreed to take on the even more daunting—and revealing—task of writing a memoir. Before embarking on All Fall Down, she’d devoted much of her creative energy over the last few years to Diamond in the Rough (William Morrow/Harper Collins), an account of her life and work to date that is as forthright and fascinating as her songs. In her prose, she’s blunt about the emotional demons she’s faced over the years and generous in equal measure with insights into her songwriting and record-making, uncovering the creative roots of such songs as the 1998 Song of the Year and Record of the Year, Grammy Award–winning “Sunny Came Home.”

Colvin is an openhearted storyteller who is certain to engage a readership well beyond her fan base. (She provides a vivid description of, among other things, the crumbling East Village tenement she first called home.)

The publication of her memoir coincides with the release of All Fall Down, with key tracks being featured at her Opera House show.

For a taste of what’s in store, watch this video:

About the Telluride Arts District:

 

Telluride Arts District logo

 

The historic Sheridan Opera House is a key player in the Telluride Arts District. 

We believe in a culture of the Arts—creativity across disciplines—and we strive to sustain, promote and expand all creative pursuits in our mountain community. Anchored on the west by the Palm Theatre, the south by the Ah Haa School for the Arts, the north by the Telluride Historical Museum and the east by the Town Park Stage, the district contains world-class exhibits, music, film, theatre, literature, architecture, design, food, and artists of all disciplines

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