Shawn Colvin, incredibly talented singer/songwriter/performer has been huge on the music scene since Sunny Came Home won a Grammy in 1997, but her career did start as a college student at Southern Illinois University in the early 1970s.
Her first album, Steady On was released in 1989 to high critical acclaim and won her first Grammy in 1991 for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
Most of her songs are played fingerstyle, and many are quite fast. This presents quite a challenge for students but Vanessa’s guidance in these lessons will quickly make them accessible to all.
Lesson 1: Diamond In The Rough - Shawn Colvin - Guitar Lesson
Diamond In The Rough is a song by American singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin. It’s the second track on her Grammy Award winning debut album, ‘Steady On’, which was released in 1989.
The lesson is based on Shawn’s live performances, which she mostly does by herself. The song features very cool up tempo rhythm guitar playing and the student has to master basic strumming skills.
An important technique to work on is muting or dampening the strings. Shawn also uses lots of embellishments, such as hammer-on’s, pull-off’s, slides and even vibrato to dress it up. The arrangement is done in double dropped D-tuning, capoed at the 8th fret.
Since Shawn has been around the music industry for over 25 years, her playing is loose, random and varied. The student is encouraged to make the song their own as well.
Lesson 2: Shotgun Down The Avalanche - Shawn Colvin - Guitar Lesson
Shotgun Down The Avalanche is a heartbreaking song from American singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner, Shawn Colvin. It appeared on her debut album ‘Steady On’ which was released in 1989.
The lesson is based on her acoustic live performances, in particular the Lost Concert in Amsterdam and a performance collaborating with Alison Kraus on violin.
The song features a compelling fingerpicking arrangement in Drop D-tuning, where the guitar is capoed at the 5th fret. It contains a fast travis picking-pattern, picking out melodynotes and lots of embellishments, which is covered thoroughly. For that, basic fingerpicking skills are absolutely necessary in order to get this song down.
Also, keep in mind, throughout the years, Shawn has been playing this song in many different ways and the student is encouraged to make it their own as well.
Lesson 3: Sunny Came Home - Shawn Colvin - Guitar Lesson
Sunny Came Home is a folk-rock song by American singer-songwriter and musician Shawn Colvin. The song was a huge commercial success, winning both Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year and was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
The song tells the story of a woman, named Sunny, who burns down her house to escape her past. The lesson takes a look at how Shawn performs this song on stage, which she has been doing mostly by herself.
The arrangement features chords in open position, where the guitar is capoed on the second fret. The most important technique to work on is muting or damping the strings to give it a percussive sound, which should really stand out. A few strumming patterns are presented as well as some embellishments she uses throughout the song.
Lesson 4: All Fall Down - Shawn Colvin - Guitar Lesson
Shawn Colvin is an American singer-songwriter and musician widely known for her Grammy-winning 1997 single ‘Sunny Came Home’.
Since 1989 she has released eight albums. All Fall Down is the title track of her last album with the same name, which was released in 2012.
The lesson is based on how Shawn performs this song live on stage, which she often does by herself.
It features a very easy chord progression, primarily four chords, a simple strumming pattern which changes occasionally from the speed of eights to sixteenth’s back and forth and syncopated chord changes.
The guitar is tuned to CGDGBD, a tuning which Shawn uses quite often, and capoed on the third fret. It’s a great song to start with if a student wants to enter the world of alternate tunings.
Lesson 5: Crazy by Shawn Colvin
This lesson takes a look at Shawn Colvin's version of Crazy, originally by Gnarls Barkely. It is primarily based on several of her live performances.
She uses a classic Travis style fingerpicking arrangement, which is somewhat fast, and for that probably challenging to some guitar players. On the other hand, the chords are relatively easy.
In general, even though Shawn is pretty consistent in some things, there is still much more that comes out differently each time she plays anything. This song is no exception, and students are encouraged to make the song their own.