Music » Livewire

Shawn Colvin

With John Hiatt. Thursday, August 25, at the House of Blues.

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Like many women singer-songwriters, Shawn Colvin rose to prominence during the halcyon days of Lilith Fair. In the '90s, she scored hits with "Sunny Came Home" and "I Don't Know Why," and won three Grammys. But Colvin never really fit the waifish Lilith stereotype. Her diverse background (singing in hard-rock and western-swing bands, playing guitar in the band of future Americana hero Buddy Miller, and performing in off-Broadway musicals) gave her music a breadth that many adult-alternative angels lacked.

Colvin's sophisticated songcraft brings to mind the work of Rosanne Cash -- which isn't surprising, since both have employed gifted producer-guitarist John Leventhal. Although an accomplished writer, Colvin also enjoys sharing songs she admires. On her 1994 Cover Girl album, she mixed the obvious (Dylan and Waits) with the eclectic (Police and Talking Heads) and the obscure (cult faves Judee Sill and Willis Alan Ramsey).

Colvin has been somewhat obscure herself of late. Her last studio outing was 2001's Brand New You. Since then, she's focused on being a single mom. But word is that Colvin's working on an album for her new label, Nonesuch. In the meantime, she's road-testing new material, and when she hits the House of Blues Thursday, she'll be performing acoustically -- all the better for the audience to enjoy her well-turned phrases, lyrical insights, and wry commentaries.

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