As the crowd slowly drifted in toward their seats and the appointed start time came and went, I could sense the growing unease on the part of my companion. Not a big fan of live music venues, she is a stickler for prompt performances, which is tough in rock and roll. Nevertheless by the end of the evening, I could tell that she was glad that she was in the audience for one of the more entertaining shows we’ve seen recently. Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle brought their “Songs and Stories” tour to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall last evening, and it was a charmer. As long as you weren’t put off by the steady barrage of f-bombs dropped by Steve throughout his various vignettes. Or the somewhat awkward vibe given off by Shawn Colvin, as if she knew she couldn’t quite compete with either Steve’s songs or his stories. Nevertheless, it is clear that he is a huge fan of hers, and made sure to mention that her cover of his song “Someday” was one of two bright points of light during an unrelenting stretch of personal darkness. Speaking of awkward, the show commenced with an odd choice of covers, a somewhat disjointed rendition of “Wake Up Little Susie” by the Everly Brothers, which was followed by an extended riff from Steve about guns and the writing of “Devil’s Right Hand”. The pair then traded stories and solo renditions of various tunes from their extensive catalogs, highlighted by knockout versions of “Goodbye”, “Crazy” (by Gnarls Barkley, not Willie Nelson), “Sunny Came Home”, and “Galway Girl”. They teamed up for “Someday”, “You’re Still Standing There”, and for the encore “Baby’s in Black”. They finished with a run through “Copperhead Road”, which lacked the visceral punch of the full band version, but apparently Steve is contractually obligated to play it. In the end we were treated to a dozen and a half songs, some stories both hilarious and touching and given a glimpse inside that mysterious process known as songwriting by two of the best in the game. Judging from the reaction of both the audience and the performers, everyone got their money’s worth! For another view from the seats, please visit here.
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