Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin has a new album out, and it’s something you can enjoy with your kids. “The Starlighter” is made up of songs adapted from the children’s music book “Lullabies and Night Songs,” a book the “Sonny Came Home” songstress first encountered when she was 8 years old. Recently, she performed songs from “The Starlighter” at the Boston Children’s Museum KidStage Theater. The record, and its corresponding music videos, are available on Amazon Music. Colvin is currently on tour – for grown ups — with Lyle Lovett.
1. Other than being a lullaby record, how is The Starlighter different than most of your other albums?
A lot of the instrumentation is different. Many of the songs are primarily piano, whereas most of my other records are acoustic guitar based. There are a lot of strings as well. Certain song have arrangements that are a little jazzy – definitely a departure for me.
2. “Lullabies and Night Songs” has helped inspire two of your albums now: Holiday Songs and Lullabies, and now this follow-up record. Why does this book have a special meaning to you?
That book has meant so much to me over the years. It was published in 1965 – my parents gave it to me not long after that. I was a piano player back then. I started learning the songs in the book and was immediately taken with the beautiful arrangements composed by Alec Wilder.
3. How did you chose the selections from “Lullabies and Night Songs”to adapt for this new record? And how did you put your signature on them?
I simply went with songs I hadn’t done for Holiday Songs and Lullabies, and there were plenty of them. It wasn’t hard to choose them, I love them all. Some I did end up doing on acoustic guitar which is generally my signature sound.
4. What do you hope people take away from The Starlighter?
Hopefully they’ll be moved by the sheer beauty of it. There isn’t a message in it. It’s simply lullabies but I do think folks of all ages will enjoy it.
5. How has being a mother shaped your music?
Oh, it’s shaped my music and my process in many ways. First of all, I had to improve my time management skills. Less so now because my daughter is grown and on her own. Also, I found that lyrically I tended to move away from romantic drama and embrace other subjects in my life and create more fiction in my writing. And, of course, my daughter has inspired me in countless ways and that comes out in the writing, too. In fact, I just finished writing a song about her.
6. You marked the 20th anniversary of the release of A Few Small Repairs with an expanded re-release and a U.S. tour. What was it like to revisit that album two decades later?
It was a complete pleasure to study and perform that record. People seem to think that it might be difficult to re-experience some emotions in the songs, but for me it really is the quality of the material and how proud I am of it.
7. Now you’re on tour sharing the stage with old friend Lyle Lovett. What can fans expect?
Lyle and I have known each other for years and have lots of experience playing shows together and singing on each other’s records. We’ll be together onstage the whole night. There are bound to be some good stories, collaborations, and a lot of laughs.
8. If you could give three words of advice to a young musician, what would they be?
How about four? Do what you love.