Shawn Colvin‘s new video for “Ricochet in Time” is a time trip for the veteran singer-songwriter. The song, which Billboard premieres the video for exclusively below, is from the upcoming 30th-anniversary acoustic version of her Grammy Award-winning debut album Steady On.
The clip features footage taken during Colvin’s first tour following the album’s release, chronicling visits to radio stations, record company branch offices and record stores, as well as the travails of travel, a whirlwind that caught the then-fledgling artist by surprise.
“It was a wild time,” Colvin tells Billboard. “I was kind of wet behind the ears in terms of what happened when you made a record. I didn’t have any idea what I was in for, just promoting the thing from the grassroots level. I’d been making my living playing in bars and graduated to listening rooms after a while, just gigging and making ends meet. Then I got a chance to make this record, which was my dream come true, and then we had to sell the record — that’s what I was unfamiliar with. It was the radio — morning shows, if I could — as much press as would speak to me and then a show every night, whether there was anybody there or not.”
The hard work paid off, of course. Buoyed by singles such as “Diamond in the Rough” and the title track, Steady On earned rave reviews and won the Grammy for best contemporary folk album. The album’s success set Colvin on a path that’s included 11 albums, two more Grammys and collaborations and guest appearances with Steve Earle, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Bela Fleck, among others.
The 30th-anniversary acoustic edition of Steady On, which comes out Sept. 13, features unplugged version of the album’s 10 tracks, an idea forwarded by one of Colvin’s managers and inspired by Rodney Crowell‘s 2018 release Acoustic Classics.
“It’s a very comfortable place for me to be,” Colvin, who keeps the Steady On Grammy in the music room of her Austin, Texas, home, says of the acoustic setting. “I found my voice and my core as an artist, as a solo acoustic performer. I co-wrote a lot of these songs with [co-producer] John Leventhal, but I would take the production pieces he gave me and transpose them into solo acoustic guitar pieces. My little test for the songs that we co-write was ‘Can I play these by myself?’ I had to be able to whittle them down to just an acoustic guitar and me singing in order for them to pass muster.”
Steady On‘s songs, meanwhile, still hold up for Colvin three decades later. “There isn’t one of them that feels like it’s not timely anymore, for me,” she says. “Some of the failed romance songs, I’m past the drama of all that now, but even those are still relatable. I don’t write about that anymore ’cause it’s just not part of my life, but there’s nothing here that feels awkward.”
Colvin has a number of special performances lined up to commemorate Steady On‘s anniversary, including a Sept. 13 album release showcase at AmericanaFest, a Mountain Stage taping on Sept. 15 and performances at World Cafe Live on Sept. 17 in Philadelphia and a day later at the Cutting Room in New York City on Sept. 18. During October she’ll be hitting the road with Carpenter for a couple of months of shows, and Colvin is currently writing songs, some with Leventhal, for a new album, her first since Colvin & Earle with Steve Earle in 2016 and first of all-original material since All Fall Down in 2012.
“It’s been a long time,” Colvin acknowledges. “But I’ll tell you, road work and writing don’t mix with me very well. As is the case with so many of us now, my job is being on the road. That’s how I earn my living, and it keeps me very busy, and it’s tiring. So inspiration is hard to come by, and I’m insecure about songwriting in the first place. I really have to muster up some faith and determination to do it.”