The Austin Chronicle

Live Shots

Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, March 16, 2001, Music

Shawn Colvin

Austin City Limits, Thursday 15

As if there weren't enough going on. But it makes sense, really: Shawn Colvin isn't looking for a deal, publishing, or more press. Okay, maybe not the last one. With her first album in four years coming out next week, Whole New You, the once former/now present local -- or perhaps more precisely, her label Columbia -- is looking to follow up the breakthrough success of her last album, 1997's A Few Small Repairs, which sold a buttload and produced two Grammys. Based on her 90-minute taping of Austin's world- renowned calling card, neither Columbia nor Colvin has anything to worry about. Nailing the next-to-last taping of Austin City Limits' 26th season with aplomb to burn (napalm?), Colvin was kicking ass and taking names right from the get-go, strolling out in tight jeans, tight black T, and "the highest heels I've ever worn." With a six-piece backing band, including her longtime genius producer/songwriting partner John Leventhal, Colvin acknowledged the lag time between albums by blaming half the wait on a two-year post-partum depression. The first three songs alone, all new, signaled one potential single after another, Colvin confident and engaging as always; she's always been a natural performer. "We're so serious," she laughed at one point, no doubt referring to the mature and moody nature of the new songs. "Very serious. But we're faking it pretty good, so far." So good that the make-up lady came out 30 minutes in to wipe up the sweat and adjust Colvin's dirty-blond hair. And get rid of "boogers," laughed the performer. "I have to look pretty, because my next guest is so beautiful." If Alison Krauss looks as nice as she plays fiddle, by now it's no secret and when the two did a solo duet on "Nowhere to Go," beauty was the operative word; Krauss' crystal-clear voice combined with Colvin's strong sensitivity was a showstopper. Bruce Hornsby was the next guest, the former Jerry Garcia sideman ("That's always the first question they ask," he joked. "'What was it like to play with Jerry?'") sidling up to the big, black Baldwin onstage, and backing Colvin on two numbers. While the ACL crew was changing tape, KGSR's Jody Denberg came onstage and recorded the intro and outro for a Columbia Records Radio Hour, which tonight's show was going to do double duty as. After rousing audience applause that needed little prompting, out came Lyle Lovett in his leather shirt, and he and Colvin duetted first on one of her songs, then on his "Road to Ensenda," Hornsby joining in on accordion. "Sunny Came Home" served as Colvin's set ender, the encore being a guest-studded take on "Diamond in the Rough." No roughs here, or anywhere near Colvin. Just diamonds.

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