The songs of Shawn Colvin are trying to describe a picture and don't really delve deep into her own life.
"Sure there are some songs that are about what I'm feeling," the Grammy Award-winner singer/songwriter said during a phone call from Cincinnati, Ohio. "But (inspiration) can be everything from an autobiographical reason to a simple word as a melody."Shawn Colvin will play Kings-bury Hall, Monday, March 31, at 7:30 p.m. Opening performers will include Freddy Johnson and Patty Griffin. Colvin will also bring her band - guitarist Steuart Smith, keyboardist Doug Petty, bassist Alison Prestwood, drummer Chris Searles and background vocalist Kate Markowitz.
Whether it's playing her own material or that of other artists, Colvin said approaching each work in the right mood makes the songs work.
"For my own songs, it all depends," she said. "If the songs are new or fairly new, it's easy to get into them. If they're a little older, you find yourself losing touch with the real feelings that made you write them. But once you start playing, you slowly get back into them."
Colvin singled out Paul Simon's "Kathy's Song," which was a staple cover in her early days.
"That song is always nice to play because it's easy to connect with," Colvin explained. "It's always there and you add your own mood to it."
Colvin began playing the guitar at 10. She was raised in a musical household in South Dakota.
"My parents always had some music going on," Colvin, 39, said. "They had soundtracks and other records. Then the Beatles were the next big thing. We also went to church, and I remember the music being simple, good and solid."
Colvin eventually wandered to the music of Joni Mitchell and Neil Young. But she also liked other forms of art. In high school she acted and got into drawing.
"I enjoy creating," she said. "I love performing. I like artistic things."
By the 1980s Colvin had moved to New York and was part of the city's folk scene. She made her first record in 1988, "Steady On," which won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Recording. From there, she recorded the Grammy-nominated "Fat City" and recently released another Grammy nomination, "A Few Small Repairs."
"Winning the Grammy was a personal validation for me," Colvin said. "I was proud of that album because it was my first and I'm a competitive person. Also, there were no radio format back then playing the type of music I played. I had to build recognition by going out and touring. So the nominations were a boost to my career. It's nice to be recognized like that."