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Steady On

Shawn Colvin

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Album Review

Sonically, Steady On is a triumph, with its emotional intimacy captured with smooth precision. Vocally, Colvin's tender, sometimes whisper-like performances are astonishing and haunting, provocative and seductive all at once. Then there are the songs that flow so effortlessly into one another that to remove even one would seemingly upset the entire balance of the cosmos as we know it. The sly Colvin adeptly plays with words, beats, phrasing, and rhymes, focusing not just on the meaning, but also the feel and rhythm of the lyrics to great effect. Having once claimed that she tends to write about the "positive side of the painful experience," this album proves her point, for even if you do listen amidst gray skies and drizzles, you will be soothed to the point of contentment. The opening strains of the wistful title track set the mood and ease you into Colvin's head and heart, as you embark on this journey with her to discover countless souls and their heretofore untold truths. On a album full of great songs, "Shotgun Down the Avalanche" still stands as one of her finest compositions, with its metaphoric imagery of riding an out-of-control emotional tide as one would cascade helplessly down a mountain of snow. The requisite troubadour-on-the-road tune, "Ricochet in Time," is made ever more poignant by Colvin's sleepy vocal track, bringing home the weariness that is a very large part of being an artist on tour. Steady On is a must have for anyone who loves acoustic music created in the grand tradition of Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, two legends Colvin now counts as contemporaries.

Biography

Born: 10 January 1956 in Vermillion, SD

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Shawn Colvin is one of the leading lights of the so-called "new folk movement" that began in the late '80s. Although she grew out of the somewhat limited "woman with a guitar" school, she kept the form fresh with a diverse approach, avoiding the genre's clichéd sentiments and all-too-often formulaic arrangements in favor of a more personal, pop-influenced style. Colvin's debut record won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1991, but it was her 1997 single, "Sunny Came Home," that...
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