“I brushed my hair, I held my breath
I went out to face the wilderness.”— Shawn Colvin and John Leventhal, "Summer Dress," performed by Colvin on her CD, These Four Walls (2006)
This post has been a bit late coming. But I didn’t want to let too much more time pass by without taking note of the very, very fine performance by Shawn Colvin and Lyle Lovett on Tuesday night in Englewood, NJ. (The concert at BergenPAC—a venue whose acoustics and audiences seem to be special favorites of musicians, judging from the repeat performers passing through—was made additionally memorable by meeting up with my longtime friends Brian, Martin and Cindy.)
The two longtime friends combined a form of mutual admiration society and comic duo, with the kind of unfeigned banter that morning show hosts might strive for but don’t always achieve. They spring primarily from two distinctive musical traditions—folk and country music—and achieved their greatest commercial success in larger combos.
But, on the acoustic guitar, each demonstrated what Lovett observed about his musical partner: that, even with a single instrument, they provide the solid foundation of a full band.
Both in their early sixties, Colvin and Lovett bring to their own exquisitely crafted songs skill, strength and depth undimmed by the years. (Colvin’s “Summer Dress”—written after breakups with her second husband and her record company—will be especially relevant for those going through midlife issues, as so many I know are doing so now.)
I recommend that any readers who have never seen these veteran singer-songwriters in concert, alone or together, try to do so now. You will leave the hall wanting to revisit the extensive, accomplished musical catalog of each.