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Music Review: Shawn Colvin – These Four Walls

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Multi-Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin has had numerous hits including: "Sunny Came Home", "I Don’t Know Why", and "Round of Blues". And now after a five year absence she is back with a brand new album, her debut with Nonesuch Records, These Four Walls.

Colvin’s music career has been varied, she has worked as songwriter for other artists, backing vocalist for the likes of Susan Vega ("Luca") and Mary Chapin Carpenter ("The Hard Way" and "Come On, Come On"), guest vocalist for Lisa Loeb on the single "'Falling in Love" and she was the voice of Ned Flanders’ post-Maude love interest and Christian rock band beauty, Rachel on The Simpsons. Colvin has also had many critically acclaimed albums and has been nominated for six Grammy’s winning three – 1991, Best Contemporary Folk Album, Steady On; 1998, Record of the Year & Song of the Year, "Sunny Came Home".

Shawn ColvinColvin has long been regarded as one of the best of the “new folk movement” and now she and long-time collaborator John Leventhal have created a smooth, contemporary folk-country-pop album These Four Walls. Although Colvin may have changed labels, with These Four Walls she hasn’t changed from her well worn, familiar path of comfortable melodic tunes embracing poignantly aching lyrics. Her harmonious blend of cool pop production and acoustic folk sounds ensure that These Four Walls is like sitting in an overstuffed, time-worn armchair in front of a gentle fire on a cold snowy day.

Colvin does what she is so very good at; she tells character driven tales through the use of penetrating, often wistful, always honest lyrics and achingly-sweet, raw, emotive vocals that are wontedly beautiful. And the first track on These Four Walls, "Fill Me Up", is a perfect example of Colvin’s sublime ability to express the aching fears of both belonging and isolation in this mellow song about fear of commitment.

She moves from fear of commitment to resigned acceptance and the graceful strength to make her commitment work with the title track "These Four Walls". Then "Tuff Kid" walks you through her rough and tough upbringing with an I-lived-to-tell-the-tale pride. Filled with hauntingly beautiful, heart-gripping song-writing and Colvin’s sweet melancholy vocals These Four Walls will fill you up and pour you out over and over again.

And Blogcritics is happy to join with Nonesuch records to offering you the chance to win one of four copies of These Four Walls. To enter, simply send an email with the subject line “Shawn Colvin giveaway” including your name and full address to Entries must be in by midnight GMT on November 23, 2006. This contest is open to everyone. Winners will be notified by email.

To get a taste for These Four Walls you can visit Shawn Colvin’s ecard and give it a listen.

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About A.L. Harper

  • A.L. Harper

    Congratulations to our winners!

    Kristy Powell of Minnesota

    Cheryl Dutter of Wisconsin

    RJ Elliott of Florida


    Ian Woolstencroft of Leicester, England