Personnel: Shawn Colvin (vocals, guitar); Milo Deering (lap steel guitar, mandola); David Boyle (keyboards); Glenn Fukunaga (upright bass); Mike Meadows (percussion).
Audio Mixer: Stewart Lerman.
Recording information: Arlyn Studios, Austin, TX; Bismeaux Studios, Austin; Hobo Sound, Weehawken, NJ.
Photographer: Alexandra Valenti.
Shawn Colvin is no stranger to a good cover. She's sung the songs of other writers throughout her career, even finding space for Warren Zevon's "Tenderness on the Block" on her 1992 breakthrough Fat City, but she hasn't devoted an entire album to covers since 1994's Grammy-nominated Cover Girl. Arriving 21 years after that album, Uncovered feels slightly spare and quiet in comparison -- there are no productions as bright and full as that on "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" -- but it follows the same basic formula as that album, with Colvin finding the quiet, intimate heart lying in each of these songs. She returns to a few of her favorite writers -- the first single pulled from Uncovered was "Hold On," and Tom Waits isn't the only repeated songsmith; she also repeats Robbie Robertson, reviving "Acadian Driftwood" this time around -- but casts her net a little wider than such expected celebrated singer/songwriters as Paul Simon, John Fogerty, Robert Earl Keen, Jr., Bruce Springsteen, and Neil Finn, finding room for Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street," Stevie Wonder's "Heaven Is Ten Zillion Light Years Away," and Brenton Wood's classic '60s soul tune "Gimme a Little Sign," here performed as a duet with Marc Cohn. These slightly left-of-center choices illustrate the sly inventiveness of Colvin's interpretations, how she can retain the melody and emotion of the tune while shaping it to fit her gentle touch, and if this skill isn't forceful, it's nevertheless satisfying and deceptively sturdy, sounding stronger with each subsequent play. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine