Shawn Colvin chose a three-night solo acoustic stand at San Francisco's legendary Yoshi's (a jazz club) to record her second live offering. Simply titled Live, the set was compiled from songs played on those three nights, and serves as a delightful, intimate overview of her career. Every album, from her Columbia debut Steady On through to her 2006 Nonesuch debut, These Four Walls, is represented here. The 15-song set list is canny and tight; 12 of these selections she either wrote or co-wrote with co-producer John Leventhal. Favorites such as "Diamond in the Rough," "Ricochet in Time," "Polaroids," "Sunny Came Home," and "Trouble" are showcased in versions that, while almost utterly faithful to their original recorded versions, become definitive here in this stripped down, on-a-wire presentation. Other notables include the beautiful "Nothing Like You," the haunted "A Matter of Minutes," the revelatory "Shotgun Down the Avalanche," and "Fill Me Up." There are three covers here, too: reprises of her readings of Robbie Robertson's "Twilite," Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place" from her Cover Girl outing, and a solo blues version of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" that was issued as an in-studio single version in 2007 (this one is longer and far more beautiful). And while it's true that Colvin has excellent interpretive skills, this set is a almost a forum on her as a songwriter. These songs hold up to repeated listening in either their original studio forms or in this bare showcase because they are simply great songs. They have universal themes no matter how personal, and can be lyrically interpreted in numerous ways. More than this, they can be heard as either slices of a moment in time or as in-the-moment statements of emotion. Colvin fans will be delighted by this collection, and anyone remotely curious would do well to make Live her introduction to the artist's work.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek