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Colvin & Earle
August 23, 2016
Doors 7 p.m., Show 8 p.m. | $55 | 21+
1300 SE Stark Street, Portland, OR
Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle both remember the night they met. It was nearly 30 years ago, and Colvin had been invited to open a solo acoustic performance by Earle at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA. Though their interactions that night were limited to some cursory dressing room pleasantries, each left more of an impression on the other than they may have realized at the time.
“I was knocked out with her,” says Earle. “She was a real live folk singer.”
“I was a big fan—still am—and I was thrilled I got to meet him,” reflects Colvin. “Steve’s just brilliant. He’s a very simple writer in an extremely profound way. I love his singing and his songwriting, he’s just got the whole package.”
Anyone in the audience that night could have sensed the critical acclaim, GRAMMY Awards, and immense impact on popular music that awaited both artists, each already well on their way to becoming widely considered among America’s greatest living songwriters. The long time friends and admirers have now reunited to record their self-titled debut as Colvin & Earle, a true standout for each in a catalog chock full of highlights and masterpieces.
The duo’s collaboration began two years ago with a phone call from Colvin, who had just wrapped up a joint tour with Mary Chapin Carpenter and found the experience offered a different set of artistic rewards from her typical solo touring.
“I found I really enjoy sharing the stage with someone for the whole evening,” says Colvin. “I love being a backup musician, I love singing harmony and being a rhythm guitar player and getting to be entertained by another artist I admire. Touring alone is something I do very well and it’s the right thing for me, but it was a nice change to have this camaraderie and repartee with someone onstage, and when I thought about who else I’d like to share that with, I immediately thought of Steve.”
The first show began with little more than a sound check for preparation, but they discovered an immediate spark, building from initially trading songs and stories back-and-forth to slowly, organically contributing guitar and harmonies to each other’s tunes throughout the night. The Albany Times Union hailed their show as “a near perfect pairing,” while The Morning Call said they “spur each other to greater heights,” and The Cleveland Plain Dealer called it “a joy to be able to witness two of the greatest at their craft.”