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Shawn Colvin, ‘Uncovered’

Shawn Colvin has joked that she “had writer’s block before I was even a writer.” Having penned some powerful songs (“Sunny Came Home” won two Grammys in 1998), she’s also released a pair of cover albums. This spare newcomer places Colvin’s subtly elastic voice at the center of ably curated acoustic covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Tougher Than the Rest” (a jaw-dropping version), Paul Simon’s “American Tune” (capturing its bittersweet vulnerability), Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street” (with David Crosby’s hushed vocals suggesting his “Guinnevere” period), and John Fogerty’s “Lodi,” about a journeyman musician to whom Colvin can clearly relate. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Colvin being able to stretch in so many directions; she even tackles Brenton Wood’s slinky 1967 soul hit “Gimme a Little Sign” and Tammy Wynette’s 1973 county hit “’Till I Get It Right.” Eagles guitarist Steuart Smith produces with meticulously understated care. There are no drums, just light percussion; pedal steel and acoustic guitars carry the day. Colvin struggles with the Band’s complex “Acadian Driftwood,” but otherwise shines.



ESSENTIAL “Tougher Than the Rest”

Steve Morse can be reached at spmorse@gmail.com.