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Grammy award-winner Shawn Colvin will pay a return visit to one of her favorite venues — The Birchmere in Alexandria — on Tuesday.

“They’d book me into one of the opening act slots even before I had recorded [anything],” said Colvin, who won a Grammy for her 1989 debut album, “Steady On.”

“It’s one of my favorite places to go,” said Colvin, who plays the acoustic guitar and typically sings without a band.

“It has a place in my heart,” she said about The Birchmere. “It sounds good, and it’s laid out well. It’s magical and intimate — it’s a great club.”

Opening for her will be singer-songwriter Lilly Hiatt from Nashville. The daughter of singer John Hiatt, she released her debut album, “Let Down,” with the Dropped Ponies, in late 2012.

Colvin, who lives in Austin, Texas, said she plans to sing songs from her albums and a few new cover songs.

She will perform at Rams Head on Stage in Annapolis before joining Mary Chapin Carpenter at Lincoln Center on Feb. 28 and March 1. Later in March, she will be on tour singing duets and swapping stories with Steve Earle.

Born in South Dakota, Colvin grew up hearing the sounds of The Kingston Trio and Pete Seeger around the house. Her father was a guitar player, and she started to play herself when she was 10.

“It was a guitar with a small neck, which [helped], because I had little hands,” she said.

As folk music evolved, she began listening to singers such as Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon.

“I had so many people to copy and learn from,” said Colvin, who at 15 was singing at the University of Illinois.

She later performed with a swing band in Austin, before joining the music scene in New York, where she lived for 13 years.

After “Steady On,” she won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1998 for “Sunny Came Home” from her 1996 album, “A Few Small Repairs.”

In 2012 year, Harper Collins published her memoir, “Diamond in the Rough.”

“I was candid about my life,” said Colvin, who has been divorced twice and is bringing up a daughter, Caledonia, 15, in Austin.

“There’s a lot of great music in Austin, and it’s a great place to raise a child,” she said.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, her daughter is playing the guitar.

“I help her with the chords — she takes my help and then kicks me out of the room,” Colvin joked.

In 2012, Colvin released her eighth studio album, “All Fall Down,” which features guest performances by Emmylou Harris, Alison Krauss and Jakob Dylan.

She said she’s working with a new producer on an album that could be ready by the end of the year.

Performing was easier for her than writing music early in her career — coming up with something to say as a songwriter came later, Colvin said.

“I’ve written sad ones, happier ones and sadder ones [and] some of them are really funny, and silly,” she said about her songs.

“It’s not easy, but there’s nothing like the feeling when you’ve finished one,” Colvin said.

“It’s always kind of a homecoming,” she said about returning to The Birchmere. “I’m more and more grateful for the loyalty of my fans there. I enjoy playing there.”



vterhune@gazette.net