Music Spolight: Shelly Colvin

Monday, Jun 08,2009

Anyone who has known Shelly, has known she was destined to shine since she was a child. Her love of music took this Huntsville native to Nashville where she is working with country music icons and each day living her dream.


What inspires your music?


Other music.  The fact that a song is bound by finite theories and laws,  yet allows you to escape from consciousness into some sort of spiritual experience is completely thrilling to me.   There's an indescribable satisfaction you get from finding the perfect chord progression to match a feeling...that even without a lyric, the listener can translate.   Of course, I find invaluable inspiration from connecting with an audience.  There's nothing like it, and that connection always informs me where to go next, creatively.  And one of my favorite ways to get inspired is borrowing guitars from fellow artists...especially old guitars.  The aged wood tends to give them a richer sound.  They'll give you a story just by striking one chord.   Currently I'm writing on a 1932 Gibson tenor guitar that's been passed to me for the time being.  It's blowing my mind. 


Is performing as fun as it seems it would be?


It's a phenomenal high.  I've been sky-diving before, and performing matches that feeling of pure-exhilaration.


Where do you find inspiration for your songs?


Well, I wish I could always sit down and write a good song about anything.  I hear other songwriters say this, and I know it's cliche, but it really is out of my control.  I can get inspired from an infinite number of things...hearing people's stories, an old hymn, the mundane, day-to-day throes of life, Jim Harrison's poetry, Laurel Canyon in the 1960s, The Bible, and, of course, love.  But if it's not the right timing, I have to be patient until, whatever it is that's out there, is ready to throw me a bone.  


If you could be anywhere in the world where would you be?


Eating oysters, drinking a beer, & watching the sunset in Orange Beach, Alabama


Where do you see yourself in 5 years?


Still creating music...maybe with a baby on my hip. :)


Who are your favorite singers to work with?


When I first began recording in Los Angeles, I started working with legendary singer/ musician, Herb Pedersen.  He has my favorite tenor voice in the world and has sung on incredible songs, such as "If I Could Only Win Your Love," with Emmylou Harris.  We used to listen to greats such as, Jim & Jesse, & The Louvin Brothers together.  He taught me loads about life and singing harmony.  And we're still singing together.  In 2007, I had the privilege of singing with one of my heroes, Jackson Browne.  It was spectacular.  And I'm completely reconciled with the fact that nothing may ever top that. Ha!  But these days I've been having a blast jumping on stage and singing with my dear friends & band, Roman Candle.  Their record "O Tall Tree In The Ear" was just released in May and it's mind blowing.  We write songs together in East Nashville & they will certainly be contributing their talents on my upcoming record. 


As a child did you envision yourself doing something creative?


Not necessarily.  When I was young I was always performing.  It came very natural.  And there was always music around the house.  My Dad plays nearly every instrument and sings, and my Mom plays piano and sings.  We used to travel around, performing in churches all over North Alabama as a trio.  But there was a period through high school and college when I sort of left music behind.  I was more interested in being with my friends, and no one was playing guitars or singing. ha.  I don't think I actually believed it was something I could legitimately do until I started experimenting with writing and performing post-college, while living in California.   


You can listen to Shelly Colvin's music at

 Unfortunately her music is unavailable for sale right now, as she's recording her first record as we speak.  But if you love one of her songs, let her know & maybe she'll email you a copy! 


Shelly plays a number of venues in Nashville and has an upcoming show on Thursday, July 30th at Crossroads in Huntsville, with rock n roll band, Roman Candle.  Shelly's band will consist of Audley Freed (The Black Crowes), Marco Giovino( Patty Griffin), & Bryn Davies (Patty Griffin).  She's been a frequent performer at Birmingham's WorkPlay Theater and is expected back in the next couple months.  Be sure to check her schedule on MySpace.

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