"It's a great honor," singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin says of her Martin M3SC, a limited edition signature model guitar the revered instrument maker is putting into production. "It's very simple, not f

"It's a great honor," singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin says of her Martin M3SC, a limited edition signature model guitar the revered instrument maker is putting into production. "It's very simple, not flashy or anything, and that's the way I wanted it. It plays easily, and it's got a beautiful, beautiful sound."

"[All of] my heroes played Martins," Colvin says about her long-standing choice of guitar. "My dream guitar was always a Martin guitar, because that's what Joni Mitchell played, that's what James Taylor played, and Paul Simon. I'm sure they played other stuff too, but that's the one that sounded best and the one I knew. So that's the guitar that I wanted, and I finally saved up enough to get one when I was about 15."

Colvin will still play the Martin D-28 she's had for all those years, although since receiving the new one, "I've been playing it exclusively," she admits. "It's always nice to have more than one guitar, because I do alternate tunings, sometimes."

Sporting solid mahogany sides, the guitar has a three-piece back with solid mahogany wings, and a center wedge of Indian rosewood to give it a warmer tone. At the top of the ebony fingerboard, the three-piece headstock replicates the look of the back, while a tortoise-colored pick guard highlights the body. Colvin and Martin chairman and CEO C.F. Martin IV will personally sign the interior label of each guitar. The more intricate details of the instrument can be found at the official Martin Web site.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each Shawn Colvin Signature Edition guitar -- which retails for $3,199 -- will benefit victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, something Colvin says was a joint decision between Martin and herself. "You can't help but want to help," she says. "This is [my generation's] first experience with that kind of thing... When the bulk of your lifetime has been spent taking for granted the security, seeming security, within your borders, it evokes patriotism, compassion... It's just deeply affecting."

Martin will take orders for the guitar through March 18, after which the quantity of the edition and the names of participating dealers will be posted on the company's site.

In the meantime, Colvin -- who last year released the Columbia album "Whole New You," the follow-up to 1996's much lauded set "A Few Small Repairs" -- is looking ahead to her next release.

"I'm writing. That's kind of my main focus now," she says. "'Whole New You' was worked on in a very disjointed way. We started, we stopped. We started, we stopped. And, the previous record that we did was done that way too, but for some reason it was more comfortable than this one."

"Since [recording 'Whole New You'] both my producer, John Leventhal, and I have both had kids, and it's just much more important to me for this next project to have everything in place, all the songs done, and the pre-production together, and to then go in there and do the record. So, I'm really laying the groundwork a little more solidly this time."

"When we did 'A Few Small Repairs,' we wrote in the studio," she adds, "and it was really fun, but it didn't work as well with this last record. I don't know, I guess our heads were in other places. This time I'm gonna make sure it's a little more organized."

"Whole New You" debuted at No. 101 on The Billboard 200, while "A Few Small Repairs" bowed at No. 39 on the chart. The latter album produced the single "When Sunny Came Home," which won Grammys for song and record of the year. In between, Colvin released the "Holiday Songs and Lullabies" theme set, which debuted at No. 181 on The Billboard 200, but peaked at No. 8 on Billboard's annual Top Holiday Albums tally.

Colvin is also looking forward to spending several months on the road this year. "I do a fair amount of touring every year," she explains. "I don't have a new project to promote this year, so it'll be kind of a fun year, because the workload of promoting a project won't really be heavy. So, I'm just touring around starting in the beginning of the summer and through the fall."

Currently, the artist has just four dates on her schedule, two this month, and two in December. She'll be performing Feb. 21 at the McKay Events Center in Orem, Utah, with Joan Osborne, Deep Blue Something, and Matthew Andrae and the International Children's Choir of Utah as part of WorldSong 2002 - The Next Country Over, a concert to promote world peace and harmony." Two nights later, Colvin will perform at Seattle's Benaroya Hall. On Dec. 6, she'll play the Grand Opera House in Wilmington, Del., and the next night at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase, N.Y. Summer and fall dates are yet to be announced.