Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle have had it in their minds to work together since meeting nearly 30 years ago, when Colvin opened for an Earle concert in Northhampton, Mass.
The idea simmered for quite awhile until the two veteran singer-songwriters toured together three years ago, and now they're back on the road, this time with an album of their own jointly recorded material called "Colvin & Earle," which came out in June.
"We've sung together quite a bit, and I thought there would have eventually been a duet on one of my records or something. But recording together didn't occur to me until we did some (live) stuff," Earle, 61, says by phone Chautauqua, N.Y. "We sang some harmonies all the way through on some songs, and it really worked. So that got us thinking.
"I mean, there's admiration for each other as songwriters, but the main thing is the way you voices sound together. So we wanted to write for that group, those two voices."
Colvin and Earle wrote six songs together for the album, which was produced by good pal Buddy Miller, and they covered material such as the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday," Emmylou Harris' "Raise The Dead" and the J.D. Loudermilk Staple "Tobacco Road." "He kinda brings out the rocker in me, and I bring out the sensitive side of Steve," Colvin, 60, says by phone. "That man is fast; We get together to write and he's got a great editing mechanism. He says what he likes and what he doesn't like and doesn't get precious with anything.
"That helps me too. I can be blunt as well, and the process goes quickly."
Earle says that Colvin & Earle will be a going concern. Both are currently recording albums of their own -- his is leaning towards a country outlaw sound -- and Earle is also working on a book and a couple of stage musicals. Nevertheless, he promises that "there will be another Colvin/Earle record," along with more touring in the future.
"We really like doing it, and I think we really sound good together," Earle says. "There's a lot more we can do, I think, so we want to keep exploring it whenever we can."
Shawn Colvin & Steve Earle
8 p.m. Friday, July 29.
SoundBoard in the Motor City Casino Hotel, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit.
Tickets are $33-$53.
Call 866-782-0622 or visit soundboarddetroit.com.
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