Shawn Colvin, joined by friend Patty Griffin, took to the Paramount Theatre stage Sunday night for a nearly sold-out benefit for Marathon Kids, a local group that encourages children (especially those at risk for type 2 diabetes) to lead healthier lifestyles with 6 months of nutrition, fitness and schoolyard gardening.
The two spend the evening trading songs and sharing stories and laughter with the audience. Between Australia (and the water circling the other way), Patty’s love song to her dog “Heavenly Day,” warmer places to tour (Patty’s recently been in Europe with Robert Plant and the Band of Joy) and the potential plagiarism of “Put a Little Love In Your Heart” on Shawn’s “Polaroids” they had made it through three tunes.
While Shawn performed mostly material from her catalogue, Patty filled her portion of the show with several new and unrecorded songs – the first of which “Wild Old Dog,” was written on the drive from Austin to Nashville (“I’m getting to the age where I should be smart enough to not make that drive alone,” she laughed) after seeing a red pit bull mix that had been dumped along the highway. Shawn followed up with a song about getting older, “These Four Walls.” Patty countered with the hilarious “Our Love is A Dud” her “other love song,” a song that she “will never record, this may be it.”
“You’re not going to get any comedy from me, but I can do a low self-esteem song,” Shawn said before “The Bird.” Patty told the story about recording “Waiting for my Child” with Mavis Staples and Shawn asked if the audience ever wondered what they were thinking (she was thinking about James Franco) before Tom Waits’, “Hold On,” a song that she had been performing when they were touring with Three Girls and their Buddy (with Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller).
Borrowing Shawn’s John Mayer edition guitar (“It’s allowed because it’s a really good guitar,”) for “Tony,” Patty started on John Mayer’s Rolling Stone interview, (“that’s what did me in,” she said.) Shawn tried to save her from the tangent by noting that “Killing the Blues” by Roland Sally has no rhymes but after that Patty was back to discussing Mayer. “I’m sure that everything he did the Rolling Stones did, but they didn’t talk about it… they didn’t try to prove how cool they were.” Another new song, the delicate “You Can Go Where Ever You Want To Go,” with anti-war undertones was Patty’s next contribution.
Another tangent began when Shawn brought up Sarah Palin and an episode of her new reality TV show with Kate Gosslin and the 8 kids. “Don’t get me started saying bad things about people!” Patty exclaimed. “But that’s good news for those of us who fear her, it’s a tough sell, reality TV show president.” She also noted that Palin reminded her of the mean cheerleader in high school.
Reeling the conversation back in, Shawn played “That Don’t Worry Me Now,” which spurred Patty to play a new song inspired by Sam Cooke’s music, the bluesy “I Don’t Mind If I Do.” (Those familiar with Patty’s unreleased catalog could liken it to “Cat’s Out of the Bag” or “Let Your Freedom Ring.”) “That was hot and saucy,” Shawn said before “Diamond in the Rough,” “I’m going to cool it right back down.”
The evening drew to a close with a beautiful duet on “Mary” and an encore of two covers: Shawn with Lefty Frizzell’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” and Patty’s version of “Help Me Make It Through The Night.”
Visit MarathonKids.org for more information on the organization.
Photos by Nichole Wagner