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Shawn Colvin: Collaborating With Steve Earle Was ‘Smooth, Easy, Very Cool’

Shawn Colvin Steve Earle album 2016
Terry Wyatt, Getty Images for Americana Music

At September’s Americana Music Awards, Shawn Colvin chatted on the red carpet with The Boot, giving a behind-the-scenes look at her recent duets album with Steve Earle.

Calling themselves Colvin & Earle, the duo released their self-titled album back in April of 2016, to a great deal of critical acclaim. The two first shared a stage 30 years ago, when she opened for him on a solo tour, and they reunited to write new songs and record four covers of old favorites.

“It was just purely fun to pick these covers and do them,” Colvin tells The Boot. “Steve brought in two, I brought in two: He brought in “Ruby Tuesday” and “You Were on My Mind,” and I brought “Raise the Dead,” which is an Emmylou Harris song, and “Tobacco Road.””

For the album’s original tracks, Colvin & Earle wrote together in person.

“We wrote together in the same room, three different times: once in Nashville, once in Austin where I live, and once in New York, where Steve lives,” Colvin recalls. “And then we would sort of fill in blanks with text and voice memos on the phone. It was a smooth, easy, very cool process.”

Because the pair wrote original tracks for Colvin & Earle, they weren’t able to include all of their favorite covers on the album — but the deluxe version includes a few surprises.

“We did “Wake Up, Little Suzy,” and we did a Beatles song, “Babies in Black,” and a song of Steve’s called “Someday” and a song of mine called “That Don’t Worry Me,”” Colvin shares. “We had some bonus tracks, but there’s a lot of stuff we’d like to cover. It’s just plain old fun.”

Colvin and Earle recently wrapped up a U.S. tour in support of the album. Now, she is out on the road as a solo artist, and he is currently touring alongside Harris, Robert Plant and others for the Lampedusa: Concerts for Refugees tour. The trek is raising funds for the Jesuit Refugee Services Global Education Initiative, which provides educational opportunities to refugees across the globe.

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