By Janette Turner
Loss, more loss, regret…and resilience.
Northwest favorites Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin played to a sold-out crowd Friday night at Edmonds Center for the Arts. The enthusiastic audience of 700 from Edmonds and beyond heard the friends of over 25 years sing about a faded shirt, leaving town, and not being the fairest girl in school.
A musical highlight was Carpenter’s “Chasing What’s Already Gone.” Colvin seemed astonished by the lyrics and asked, “How did that come to you? “
“My father passed away last October,” said Carpenter. “The more personal you are in a song, the more universal it is.”
Between songs, Carpenter’s guitar tuning kept Colvin at the mic doing stand-up. The women mentioned ex-husbands who weren’t wild about the Beatles and didn’t want to go to a Bruce Springsteen concert. At one point, Colvin channeled celebrity interviewer James Lipton. “What’s your least favorite word?” she asked Carpenter, who seemed to build up courage before giving a two-word response, “Rush Limbaugh.”
Colvin’s song, “Polaroids,” showed off her voice and led to a good-natured tour of other people’s use of the same two-chord structure in “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” “Ebony and Ivory,” “Beast of Burden,” and Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.”
The tour ends Saturday in Tacoma. Carpenter will get back on the road with her band and, at some point return to her five dogs and four cats, or as she calls them, “my people.” Colvin will return to her 13-year-old daughter, who needs attention. “Need I say more?” said Colvin.
Both women said their songs were about “loss” and the audience had been warned not to expect an upbeat show. But after the encore of Carpenter’s “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her,” the crowd was in a joyful state.
Each singer has an album coming out in June, and Colvin also has a memoir being released.