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Shawn Colvin

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Bio

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. Although she never revisited that commercial peak again, Colvin still commanded a broad, loyal following well into the subsequent decades. Colvin was born in Vermillion, South Dakota, on January 10, 1956. By the age of ten, she had discovered a passion for music and taught herself guitar. After moving twice -- first to London, Ontario, and then to Carbondale, Illinois -- Colvin formed the Shawn Colvin Band, a hard rock outfit whose high-energy demands soon strained her voice. She relocated to Austin, Texas, where she joined the Western swing band the Dixie Diesels and sang 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 and built a following in the surrounding area. Throughout the '80s, Colvin worked her way up the folk circuit, also appearing in off-Broadway shows such as Pump Boys and Dinettes, Diamond Studs, and Lie of the Mind. Her work also appeared in Fast Folk magazine, and she got her first break in 1987 singing backup on Suzanne Vega's hit song "Luka." By the following year, she had found a songwriting partner in John Leventhal, who began providing melodies for Colvin's lyrics. A live tape sold at Colvin's shows (Live '88) attracted the attention of Columbia Records, who signed her the same year in the wake of success from such like-minded performers as Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, and the Indigo Girls. Steady On, released in 1989, won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. Colvin's 1992 sophomore effort, 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. In addition, "I Don't Know Why" became a big adult contemporary hit. Cover Girl, an album of cover songs, met with mixed reviews and modest sales in 1994, but Colvin again earned a nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. In late 1996, Colvin released A Few Small Repairs, having written the album during the midst of a painful divorce. A Few Small Repairs slowly 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. Holiday Songs and Lullabies followed that autumn. During the new millennium, Colvin contributed vocals to songs by Béla Fleck, Edwin McCain, James Taylor, and Shawn Mullins. She also collaborated with Sting on "One Day She'll Love Me," the theme song for Disney's The Emperor's New Groove. She returned to the solo format with 2001's Whole New You and, in 2004, summarized the first 15 years of her recording career with the compilation Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection. A companion home video was also issued. Two years later, Colvin came out with another album, her debut for the Nonesuch label, entitled These Four Walls. It featured guest performances from Patty Griffin and Teddy Thompson, among others. While touring through San Francisco in support of the album, Colvin recorded material from her three-night residency at Yoshi's, which she released in 2009 as the concert album Live. Colvin's eighth studio album, 2012's All Fall Down, was produced by Buddy Miller and recorded in Nashville at Miller's home studio, and featured guest spots from Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss, Jakob Dylan, and others. In 2015, Colvin issued a sequel of sorts to 1994's Cover Girl called Uncovered, which saw her taking on material from a host of artists including Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder, Robbie Robertson, and Graham Nash. Colvin's next project found her teaming up with another noted singer and songwriter, Steve Earle. Released in June 2016, Colvin & Earle featured the mutual admirers performing a few jointly written originals as well as a handful of favorite covers. ~ Chris Woodstra
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Albums by
Shawn Colvin

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    11 songs

    On Air

    All Fall Down

    11 songs

    On Air

    All Fall Down

    13 songs

    On Air

    These Four Walls

    12 songs

    On Air

    Whole New You

    14 songs

    On Air

    Holiday Songs and Lullabies

    12 songs

    On Air

    A Few Small Repairs

    12 songs

    On Air

    Cover Girl

    11 songs

    On Air

    Fat City

    10 songs

    On Air

    Steady On

    12 songs

    On Air

    Uncovered

    1 song

    On Air

    Tougher Than the Rest

    1 song

    On Air

    Lodi

    1 song

    On Air

    Hold On

    1 song

    On Air

    Crazy

    2 songs

    On Air

    Fill Me Up

    14 songs

    On Air

    Playlist: The Very Best of Shawn Colvin

    15 songs

    On Air

    Live

    16 songs

    On Air

    "The Best Of"

    3 songs

    On Air

    Retrospective Sampler

    33 songs

    On Air

    Original Album Classics

    15 songs

    On Air

    Polaroids: A Greatest Hits Collection

    12 songs

    On Air

    Uncovered [LP]

    22 songs

    On Air

    Polaroids: A Video Collection

    13 songs

    On Air

    A Few Small Repairs

See All Albums

Top Songs by
Shawn Colvin

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Sunny Came Home
  3.   You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
  4.   I Don't Know Why
  5.   Close Your Eyes
  6.   Shotgun Down the Avalanche
  7.   84,000 Different Delusions
  8.   Wichita Skyline
  9.   Nothing Like You
  10.   Nothin' on Me
  11.   On My Own
  12.   Tenderness on the Block
  13.   Get Out of This House
  14.   Change Is on the Way
  15.   Heart of Saturday Night
  16.   Crazy
  17.   Kill the Messenger
  18.   Never Saw Blue Like That
  19.   Stranded Another Long One
  20.   Whole New You
  21.   Mr. Levon
  22.   You and the Mona Lisa
  23.   Seven Times the Charm
  24.   I'd Say I'm Sorry Now
  25.   Pride (In the Name of Love)
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Shawn Colvin

    On Air

    Soothing Lullabies

    On Air

    Café Acoustic

    On Air

    The Greatest Years in Music

    On Air

    Coffee House

    On Air

    Taylor Swift: DNA

    On Air

    Soft Hits

    On Air

    Nothing But Love Songs

    On Air

    Alt. Country

    On Air

    Bob Dylan: DNA

    On Air

    Folk

    On Air

    Joni Mitchell: DNA

    On Air

    '90s Hits

    On Air

    Eclectic Rock

    On Air

    Soft Rock


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