STORY WRITTEN BY GARY GRAFF
The Oakland Press/Digital First Media
Shawn Colvin released her first covers album, appropriately titled “Cover Girl,” in 1994. So this year’s “Uncovered” comes along as “sort of an anniversary” celebration — but mostly because she still enjoys trying her hand at other artists’ songs.
“I’d amassed all these new cover songs; some are new, a couple I’ve been doing for years and years, so it seemed like a good idea,” Colvin, 59, says by phone from her home in Austin, Texas. “I just thought it was something I could do quickly and it was a good time and I was proud of these songs. So we made (‘Uncovered’) quickly and had a great time.”
It was, however, a different experience from making “Cover Girl,” according to Colvin. Some of that album was recorded live in concert in New York, while “Uncovered” was done entirely in the studio — although Colvin and her producers did their best to keep the performances as live-like as possible.
“We just did takes with the whole band,” she recalls. “We didn’t do a bunch of overdubbing and all that. It’s pretty live as you hear it, including the vocals. That was a really a pleasure to do. It’s how it should be done.”
“Uncovered” features songs by Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, Tom Waits, Stevie Wonder, John Fogerty, Graham Nash, David Crosby and more, while Marc Cohn joins her for an unlikely version of Brenton Wood’s 1967 pop hit “Gimme Little Sign.” The Band’s “Acadian Driftwood,” meanwhile, was something she tried on “Cover Girl” “and we just blew it, so I couldn’t use it and I vowed we’d do it some day.”
Colvin has been supporting “Uncovered” with her own shows as well as dates opening for Don Henley. But her real focus now is her next album, a duo teaming with Steve Earle that’s being recorded in Nashville, with Buddy Miller producing. Suffice to say Colvin’s expectations are high.
“(Earle) kinda brings out the rocker in me and I bring out the sensitive side of Steve,” she says. “We’ve been writing songs; we’ve got about five now, and a couple of covers we’ve picked out. That man is fast, and he has a great editing mechanism — which helps me, too.
“So we’re gonna get together and write a few more (songs) and then get the record out and go on tour. I think it’s going to turn out well.”