Songs and Stories, Together Onstage – this was the title of the show and as Steve Earle said that was what we were going to get. I had a great seat to see Earle and Shawn Colvin – second row center.
They came out and did the Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up Little Susie.” Earle was up first with “The Devil’s Right Hand” and told his usual story with that song about people thinking it was a gun control song when it first came out and how he owned a lot of guns (being from Texas and all) and how his teenage son Justin stole one of the guns and he had to kidnap him and put Justin in a wilderness camp before he found out where the gun was and now Earle doesn’t keep any guns in his home.
Colvin’s first story was about being a back-up singer for Suzanne Vega for the last two months of her European tour and being told that she should stay away from the drummer. Not liking being told what to do, she hooked up with the drummer after two days and got through the bad times by knowing the tour was only for two months. Colvin said that while all great songwriters write about all sorts of subjects, all of her songs are break-up songs. And after that breakup she wrote “Another Long One.”
Earle dedicated his next song “Goodbye” to Emmylou Harris’ mother, Eugenia, who had died recently. And then Colvin did “A Matter of Minutes.”
Colvin covered Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” which Earle called a ballsy cover. He told the story of covering “Nebraska” in front of Bruce Springsteen and Springsteen telling Earle that that was a ballsy cover. Earle’s cover for the night was Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty.” Both sang Earle’s “Someday,” which Colvin had covered back when Earle was in his darkest place and hearing that cover (and Emmylou’s cover of another of his songs) helped him to see a little light.
Earle sang “City of Immigrants” following a story about the greengrocers in his Greenwich Village neighborhood and how they began with the Italian immigrants and now we have Korean immigrants and soon it will be mostly Mexican immigrants.
While tuning, Colvin told a story about talking while tuning, which is what folk singers do, and opening for Sting and when getting off stage Sting told her that they make tuners. Colvin said all the things to us that she wished she’d said to Sting including calling him a pansy-ass, who needed a tuner for bass that only has four strings.
There were two big surprises – one that Colvin had a daughter at 42 years old and her daughter is 16 years old. I still think of Colvin as a very young woman and she hasn’t changed in years.
Watching Earle I was lamenting to myself that he was married (as if I’d take a shot) and when he was rhapsodizing about his mandolin’s beauty (which he kissed both times before he put it down) he said he was going through a divorce and he was making sure if nothing else he’d keep the mandolin. Steve – how many divorces is that now? How difficult can you be to be married to?
Colvin sang her ultimate break-up song, the murder ballad “Sunny Came Home.” And for the encore they played the Beatles’ “Baby’s in Black.” Earle said that it fits the requirements of a folk song – it is 50 years old and it’s about a love triangle where one person is dead.
Setlist.fm has the setlist from their March show in North Carolina, which is very similar to the show at the Capitol Theatre.
By Carene Lydia Lopez