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Interview


Carey got a call from The Washington Post in late February after they heard she had returned to Virginia and was playing at The Athanaeum in Old Town Alexandria on April 10th.  Below is the interview, with many thanks to Marianne Meyer, whom Carey very much enjoyed chatting with.  Carey has clarified some facts in the interview; those are in blue text.

The Washington Post Interview - April 10, 2008, Page VA08
Interview by Marianne Meyer

Carey Colvin was delighted to answer questions about her concert tonight in Alexandria; it took her away from doing her taxes. 

"I'm sitting here surrounded by receipts," the singer-songwriter said. 

The Washington area native returned to Virginia in January (she now lives closer to Richmond) after living in Florida for five years with her husband and musical partner, Granger Helvey. "We definitely want to continue playing in the area with the kickoff of this show," she said.

The pair's show at the Athenaeum is part of a series presented by the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association in conjunction with the Songwriters Association of Washington and the Alexandria Performing Arts Association.

Colvin's area musical associations include multiple Wammie awards and nominations and performances as a solo act and in collaboration with Helvey. She won debut recording of the year in 2000 for "The Distance Wall," which highlights her warm, expressive vocals in a set of original material encompassing blues, soft rock and contemporary folk.

Colvin and Helvey also received a Wammie this year for distinguished service, after writing the script for the awards presentation for a dozen years. "I herd the cats," she said, while Helvey coordinates the music.

Although she still occasionally performs as a solo artist, Colvin likes the duo format with Helvey on electric bass and vocals. 

"He prefers to be a background person, whereas I keep throwing his name in there," she said with a laugh. "The first album is basically a collection of about 20 years' worth of songs that I wrote. Mainly it was a solo project because I was a solo artist for so long. Then it became the Carey Colvin Band, and we were basically doing my material."

When the two moved to Florida in 2003, they continued to perform occasionally as a duo. But it was a time, Colvin recalled, when "I put on my mom hat" and concentrated on rearing the couple's four children. "We basically went on hiatus."

Still, supporters urged her to "chip away" at a second solo CD, which is nearing completion. One fan was folk/rock pioneer David Crosby of the Byrds and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

"I met 'Cros' online," she said, after joining an online CSN&Y discussion group, to which she contributed, on AOL, where he was also a contributor. "So we became pen pals, as it were." Colvin sent him a tape of her songs, which inspired a quote in her press kit: "Definitely give up your day job!"

After meeting online in the mid-1990s, the two met in person in 1998 when CPR (a trio of Crosby, Jeff Pevar and James Raymond) played at the Birchmere. Meeting her idol/online friend, she remembered, was "so surreal, I can't begin to tell you. He takes my hand, and he goes, 'You've got the most beautiful voice,' with my hand in his and my jaw on the floor."

Two years later, Colvin opened for CPR at the Birchmere. A song on her new album is a Crosby-Pevar composition, "Little Blind Fish," with Pevar playing bass and mandolin (NOTE:  Peev actually plays the guitars and mandolin; Granger plays the bass). Pevar also plays on a Colvin tune, "Love Have Mercy," which she proudly calls "one of my best songs."

Being back in Virginia has its momentary discomforts. 

"I haven't had a Virginia spring in five years. I'm sneezing and coughing!" she said. 

The Athenaeum show is a chance to reunite with opening act Roger Henderson, for whom she sang backup in the 1980s.

"I'm hoping to sit in with Roger and maybe throw in a backing vocal or two," she said. "If I get a chance to sing, honey, I'm there." 

Despite the occasional minor inconveniences, "we're real glad to be back in the area," Colvin said. "It's something we've wanted to do for a while. To me, this show is more than a show. It's not exactly a homecoming, but it's like spring again. It's a new beginning."


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