When Shawn Colvin's last album of original material, 1996's A Few Small Repairs
, scored Grammys for Song and Record of the Year ("Sunny Came Home"), the singer found herself blessed with pop stardom--and the stifling curse of expectations. Colvin faced two choices: make a U-turn back to the acoustic folksiness of her late-'80s rise to prominence or brave the notoriously shifting currents of musical populism head on. She's chosen the latter tack here, but it often seems like more of a showcase for her longtime songwriting partner and producer, John Leventhal. He frames her lyrics and radiant voice in slick, spacious productions that sometimes make Colvin seem uncomfortably like a session singer on her own album. Whatever fresh emotional insights she offers can't help but seem insulated in that context, making the hard-edged crash metaphors of "Another Plane Went Down," the world-weariness of her collaboration with Edie Brickell, "Roger Wilco," and the haunting "Mr. Levon" sound almost refreshing by contrast. Tellingly, the title track seems like a factory-tooled, hook-laden entry from crossover central--as comfortable and indistinguishable as anything found on either pop or contemporary country radio. It's not exactly Faith Hill, but it still feels like a long way from home. --Jerry McCulley
The eagerly-awaited new album from Shawn Colvin is finally here. Her first album of all-new original material since the three-time Grammy winner's A Few Small Repairs, released in September 1996. Tracks include "Matter Of Minutes," "Nothing Like You," "I Will Got There," "Another Plane Went Down," plus lots more.