Review: Shawn Colvin "Live (Yoshi's San Francisco)"

It's not just luck that Shawn Colvin is a music star around the world. In fact, Colvin's new album titled "Live (Yoshi's San Francisco)" provides proof positive that Shawn Colvin is still at the very top of her profession. Indeed, Shawn Colvin's "Live" is the best concert recording of the year.
Shawn Colvin is one of the stars of the "new folk" movement that began in the late 1980s, but Colvin herself only began receiving mass attention from the music press and fans since the release of 1996's "A Few Small Repairs" and its 1997 hit single "Sunny Came Home." On the album "Live," Colvin presents a new and fresh version of the murder ballad that is thrilling in its quiet intensity.

The album, recorded at the famed San Francisco jazz club Yoshi's, begins with the announcer saying: "Please welcome to the stage...Shawn Colvin." Colvin begins playing guitar for the first song "Polaroids" which is classic Shawn Colvin with lovely quiet but confident vocals, an exceptional guitar performance and piercing lyrics. However, the best song on the album is the beautiful ballad "Twilight." This is a song that deserved more attention when it was first released on Colvin's "Cover Girl" album, and it should find a new audience with the release of "Live."

The biggest surprise on "Live" is Shawn Colvin's brilliant cover version of the Talking Heads' hit "This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)." The brilliance of Shawn Colvin's interpretation cannot be overstated. Colvin truly makes the Talking Heads classic her own and provides a new cultural resonance for the track's terrific lyrics. The second biggest surprise on "Live" is the cover version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy." Colvin turns what seemed to be a breezy pop hit into a compelling folk tour de force.

By the time Shawn Colvin says "goodnight" at the close of "This Must Be The Place," you can hear the concertgoers desperate for more music. That's the same way listeners of Colvin's "Live" album feel, too. You see, Shawn Colvin knows to give her audience just enough. Colvin succeeds in her goal because listeners of her stellar live album will feel extraordinarily satisfied, but in the back of their minds will still want just a little bit more.

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