Picks and Pans Review: Fat City

updated 02/15/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/15/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

Shawn Colvin

This fine second album bears all the signs of a big push, including a roster of A-list guests like Booker T. Jones, Bruce Hornsby, Jim Keltner, Richard Thompson and Joni Mitchell. (Mitchell's husband, Larry Klein, produced the record.)

The effort was not wasted. Colvin, a native of South Dakota who paid her dues in New York City clubs for nearly 10 years before releasing her first record in 1989, came up with a diverse set of strong songs and obviously took the time to find the right studio sound to complement the tunes. And her timing could not be better. A stampede of female songwriters has lately been tearing down the fences separating folk, country and pop; Colvin is staking her claim on this open territory with a passion.

The Joni Mitchell connection is not just a coincidence. Colvin's breathy, sinewy soprano is remarkably reminiscent of Joni's voice, and a couple of her tales of urban-neurotic romance ("Polaroids" and "Object of My Affection") sound like loving homage to Court and Spark-era Mitchell. On other songs, reminders of Bonnie Raitt's down-home tang and Rickie Lee Jones's jazzy patter work their way into the delivery. But Colvin's conviction and confidence make such influences seem part of an original sound. (Columbia)

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