Shawn Colvin: The Starlighter
Those who decry that Shawn Colvin has mostly confined herself to covers on her last two outings—including her recent release with Steve Earle— may be overlooking the obvious. Simply put, Colvin is a superb interpreter of outside material. The Starlighter is no exception, and though it’s ostensibly an album for the younger set (and desperate parents anxious to lull their offspring off into slumber), these lilting lullabies also make a nice listen for anyone needing a respite from the noise and fury that’s become so prevalent in today’s world. Drawn from author/illustrator Maurice Sendak’s collection of children’s music Lullabies and Night Songs , a book that Colvin’s parents presented to her as a child—which then subsequently inspired her prior to the birth of her own daughter in 1998—the story spawned her celebratory seasonal album Holiday Songs and Lullabies . Colvin has continued to have success with sequels during the past two decades. (2015’s Uncovered marked the 21-year anniversary of Cover Girl , her first attempt at retracing other people’s songs.) As for this new attempt, it nestles relaxed and reclusive melodies, such as “The Cuckoo Is a Pretty Bird,” between slightly upbeat entries like “Night” and “The Huntsmen.” Still, there is substance to this set, and, along with the traditional fare, there are occasional offerings inscribed with the verse of poets William Blake and Lewis Carroll.