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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 17
Sunny day duo - Colvin, Carpenter pair up for memorable performance
Arts & Entertainment
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Sunny day duo - Colvin, Carpenter pair up for memorable performance

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

SHAWN COLVIN & MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER
BENAROYA HALL
April 19


A 30-year camaraderie brought two veteran singer-songwriters together under one roof last weekend. Shawn Colvin and Mary Chapin Carpenter, each a multiple Grammy winner and successful crossover artist, have sung on each other's records, played spontaneously in each other's living rooms, and jointly made a music video, but have never collaborated live in a formal setting. On Friday night, they turned a full Benaroya Hall into an intimate listening party that also delivered its share of laughs.

The evening began with a cover of Donovan's 'Catch the Wind,' Colvin wearing a formal red, sleeveless, ankle-length dress and Carpenter sporting more casual attire - jeans, white blouse, black blazer. They rotated as soloists, one sitting while the other sang and strummed guitar, but on several numbers they played as a duet or gave backup support.

Carpenter sang a warm-fuzzy version of 'This Shirt' and a spirited rendition of 'He Thinks He'll Keep Her' (replacing 'I'm sorry' with 'Kiss my ass'). While the set time of around two hours was evenly divided between the pair, Colvin drew more attention with her effortless soprano vocals and crafty guitar work. She performed 'Shotgun Down the Avalanche' and 'Round of Blues' flawlessly, her high-pitched voice gliding beautifully through the hall.

WARM REPARTEE
When the duo weren't singing, they ad-libbed comically about age, womanhood, and ex-boyfriends. Carpenter humorously pointed out a pair of concertgoers sneaking into their seats after the first song, telling the crowd that she was starting to worry that the occupants of those seats may have gotten into a fight on the way over. 'So, is everything OK?' she asked the now-seated guests.

Later, Carpenter shared a recent experience at a grocery store where a young cashier exchanged a series of warm smiles and looks with her, and then finally leaned in to say, 'My grandmother loves your music.'

A barely written song from Carpenter titled 'Hand on My Back' got a rousing reception from the house, which led to a partial standing ovation. She included another favorite, 'The Hard Way,' onto the set list, as well. Colvin, meanwhile, contributed a newer tune, 'Change Is on the Way' from last year's All Fall Down recording, and an incandescent version of 'Sunny Came Home,' which she introduced as a 'murder ballad.' Afterwards, Carpenter joked that she thought for the longest time that her touring partner had channeled Sunny von Bulow when penning that track, which won Grammy Awards for song and record of the year in 1997.

An encore featured a sweet cover of The Beatles' 'I'll Be Back' and a pleasant run-through of Simon & Garfunkel's 'The Only Living Boy in New York.' Carpenter also chipped in 'I Feel Lucky' as everybody clapped and joined her on the chorus.

Though the in-between-songs chatter was amusing, I would've opted for less talk and more music, especially since Colvin hardly touched her best material. But that still doesn't take away the fact that these women put on a great show, one that clearly validates their lengthy careers and friendship.

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