Synopses & Reviews
After learning to play guitar at the age of ten, Shawn Colvin was determined to make a life in music—a decision that would send a small-town girl out on the open road for good. In 1997, two decades after she started, she got her big break. Like the troubled would-be arsonist and survivor of her smash hit "Sunny Came Home," Colvin knows a thing or two about heartache—and setting fires. Diamond in the Rough
recounts this passionate musician's coming-of-age, from the prairies of South Dakota to the dark smoky bars in Austin, Texas, to the world stage at the Grammys.
Humorous and deeply honest, Colvin relates the experiences behind her best-loved songs in vivid color in this memoir. Diamond in the Rough captures her years of touring cross-country in bands and vans full of guys; falling in and out of love; meeting heroes like Joni Mitchell; searching for her musical identity; and making friendships that would last a lifetime. It is also an unflinching account of Colvin's struggles—weathering addiction and depression, learning to care for not only herself but also a child—and, always, channeling those experiences into song.
With the wit, lyricism, and empathy that have characterized Colvin's performances and inspired audiences worldwide, Diamond in the Rough looks back over a rich lifetime of highs and lows with stunning insight and candor. In its pages, we witness the inspiring story of a woman honing her artistry, finding her voice, and making herself whole.
"Named for the breakthrough hit on her first Grammy Award winning album of 1989 (Steady On) this charming, modest memoir tracks songwriter Colvin's roots solidly in the Midwest and the determination to pursue the folksy, acoustic-guitar style that suited her. Born on the South Dakota prairie in 1956, she grew up singing in the church, moving around from Vermillion, S.D., to Carbondale, Ill., as her father pursued graduate studies in psychology and her mother eventually got a law degree. Seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show galvanized her small world, and while prone to panic attacks and dread of school, she found that learning to play guitar, singing and songwriting, and sewing her own clothes were the only ways to motivate her. The 1970s blew in, and with it the magical folk songwriting of Judy Collins, James Taylor, and Joni Mitchell, among others; once graduated from high school, Colvin fronted bands from Austin, Tex., to New York City, and was nearly derailed by drinking until she went sober in 1983. By sticking with the community of folk writers and singers, such as those congregating at Cambridge, Mass.'s Passim coffeehouse, she toured as a backup singer for Suzanne Vega, whose managers introduced Colvin's original songs to Columbia Records and she was signed. Colvin chronicles an impressive array of accompanists and backup, two husbands, and myriad awards such as her gold record with the 1997 hit 'Sunny Came Home,' all the while maintaining a low-key, sweet humility that is truly endearing. Agent: David Vigliano. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Charming . . . Colvin chronicles an impressive array of accompanists and backup, two husbands, and myriad awards such as her gold record with the 1997 hit “Sunny Came Home,” all while maintaining a low-key, sweet humility that is truly endearing.” Publishers Weekly
“Engaging . . . .The many admirers of Colvins music will appreciate this honest memoir.” Booklist
“Colvins fans will devour her behind-the-scenes stories; single mothers will relate to her struggle to do right by her child. And those who have suffered depression -- or loved someone who has -- will find much to inspire in this compelling redemption story.” People
“[Colvin is] a gifted conversational writer with a wicked and unabashedly goofy sense of humor ... Her buoyant spirit fairly leaps off the stage, and her self-deprecating wit is as keen and quirky in recalling her brief brush with superstardom as it is applied to an ill-fated relationship.” USA Today
“Dspite the many personal disasters that have beset Colvin, DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH is no misery-fest. Its with an impressive absence of self-pity and a dry, unassuming style that she teases humour out of the most unpalatable episodes . . . Absorbing.” The Independent on Sunday
About the Author
Shawn Colvin is a singer-songwriter and musician. She began performing in bands in the late 1970s, and after years of polishing her skills in Austin, Texas, and the New York folk scene, Colvin released her debut album Steady On in 1989, earning a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Her breakthrough success was the album A Few Small Repairs in 1996, featuring the song "Sunny Came Home," a top-ten hit that won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Colvin has released ten albums, won three Grammy Awards, and been nominated for seven others.