This companion set to Diamond In The Rough, Shawn Colvin's memoir about battling depression while courting her muse, is a dark journey lyrically: Good folks fail, lovers betray, salvation is an even bet at best. But the music, including the guitars of Bill Frissell and Buddy Miller, heals. And "American Jerusalem" will resonate for anyone who ever hated the Big Apple, even for a New York minute.
Shawn Colvin took a six-year break from the recording studio after the release of 2006's These Four Walls, biding her time with a live album in 2009, and on 2012's All Fall Down, Colvin shows she was clearly in the mood to try something different. While her frequent co-writer John Leventhal has produced most of her albums, for All Fall Down she went into the studio with Buddy Miller, one of the most distinctive songwriters and instrumentalists working in Nashville today, and the result ranks with Colvin's most satisfying work since the '90s. The tenor of Colvin's material hasn't changed much -- All Fall Down's 11 tracks, eight of which were co-written by Colvin, are full of stories about people struggling with the eternal conflicts of the heart, the soul, and the conscience, all delivered with Colvin's characteristic literacy and hard-won compassion.
The singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin is blessed with a wondrous voice – a clear but distinctive, confessional but ringing instrument that lends all her music a signature sound of hip intimacy. However, her best work is less about her performances than about the stories she tells and how she matches them to bracing, unique melodies. Her best record is still 1996’s A Few Small Repairs, which won Grammys and leveraged Colvin’s pop instincts such that she no longer seemed like a folk singer and more like the adult version of a star.
After three Grammys, seven albums, and a spoof on The Simpsons, Shawn Colvin's earned her keep as a singer-songwriter. The Austinite's laid down her last 22 years in folk-pop confessionals – and most recently in new memoir Diamond in the Rough – but her eighth studio LP, All Fall Down, is an aural and lyrical departure. Recorded at the home of producer Buddy Miller, Colvin shies away from her high-range crooning, instead settling into a deep, rich alto with an added country twang.