The Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) is the place to be on any night after dinner in Morristown, and it had the hottest ticket in town when Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn, and Sarah Jarosz took the stage.
In 2021, long-time singer, songwriter, and musicians Colvin and Cohn intended to tour with David Crosby, but Covid-19 interrupted the plans. Mary Chapin Carpenter replaced Crosby on several performances, but due to scheduling conflicts, up-and-coming Jarosz replaced her, whose voice and musical skills are a refreshing delight.
The three performed together and apart, highlighting each performer’s musical gifts, often harmonizing like their mentor Crosby had done with his bandmates Stills and Nash.
Colvin opened with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’s hit The Waiting. But it was apparent from the clapping and immediate audience participation she held the room with her seasoned, award-winning career and voice while she played guitar. She also sang her hit Diamond in the Rough.
Colvin is a three-time Grammy Award winner and mixes the sounds of gospel, blues, country folk, and rock and roll into her songwriting. Her first album, Steady On, won the Best Contemporary Folk Recording Grammy. In 1996, from the album A Few Small Repairs, the song Sunny Came Home became a top 10 hit and won two Grammy Awards–Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
Jarosz said she was honored to share the stage with two of her biggest heroes and followed with her 2011 song Runaway, backed by Colvin on guitar and Cohn on electric piano. Singer, songwriter, and musician Jarosz, who plays guitar, octave mandolin, and mandolin, has a music style that mixes country folk, bluegrass, and Americana. She released her first album, Song Up in Her Head, and the song Mansinneedof nominated for a Grammy in Best Country Instrumental Performance.
Jarosz also graced the audience with her song Blue Heron Suite, a remarkable piece she wrote after spending time with Crosby on a secluded beach in California.
Cohn remarked all three were great fans of the “late great David Crosby,” and Crosby often spoke highly of Cohn and Colvin. He sang a song he wrote for Crosby, entitled Old Soldier, which brought memories to the audience who had seen Crosby at the MPAC in 2015.
Cohn, whose style is soft rock and folk, released his first album in 1991, and the song Walking in Memphis was nominated for Song of the Year. In addition, Cohn won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 1992.
Cohn sang Silver Thunderbird, a moving rendition of a song he wrote in homage to his father, a man who was never successful but boastful of his American icon automobile. Cohn also sang Perfect Love, a song he wrote for his brother.
But it was Walking in Memphis that brought the house down. Cohn gave background history on how the song came about after a slump in his songwriting. He told the story of Muriel, the retired schoolteacher who sang at a café near Memphis and inspired him to break his writer’s block and produce the almost spiritual song and a litany of others.
Fitting enough, Colvin, Cohn, and Jarosz ended the evening with an encore of Crosby’s song The Lee Shore, dedicated to their dear departed friend. Again, the standing ovation was for four talented artists since it felt like Crosby was in the room.
Colvin, Cohn and Jarosz Together In Concert at the MPAC. Now on tour in 2023. Running time is approximately 2 hours with no intermission.
MPAC, 100 South Street, Morristown NJ 07960.
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