With Carey Colvin
Damion Wolfe, August 2003
Would you be surprised to know that Carey Colvin is yet another great
artist that I've met on my musical journey? Carey is a wonderful troubadoring
songwriter who has been gracing the Washington D.C. music scene with
her passionate songs and beauty for years. My first gig at a Starbuck's
was in Burke, VA doing a round-robin with Carey and Chris Russell in
1997. I was a bit nervous yet Carey's gracious presence, along with
that of Mr. Russell, made things very easy-going. From that day on I've
always found Carey to be not only a great songwriter but also a wonderful
supporter of other songwriters in the region. She hosted a songwriter's
night at Luna Park Grille in Arlington for years in addition to having
impromtu jams that she and her husband Granger would host at their home.
After much hard work and persistance Carey released her long-awaited
CD, "The Distance Walll," in 2001. With roaring quotes that range from
The Washington Post to David Crosby, this CD is definitely worth every
glowing phrase and more. Catchy songs marked with personal depth and
exploration really accentuate Carey's distinctive style. Even before
the CD was released I remember singing along to demo versions of songs
like "Gulf Of Mexico" and "Refugee" when I was cruising from gig to
gig. "The Distance Wall" is also blessed with great supportive musicians
like Granger Helvey, Marco Delmar, John Jennings (of Mary Chapin Carpenter),
David Alberding and many others. As Dirty Linen Magazine says, "Buyers
of The Distance Wall can say they knew her before she knocked Faith
Hill off the charts."
In addition to doing all of this great music, Carey has been a full
time mom and wife. How does she do it? Carey took time from her busy
moving schedule (she and the fam are re-locating to Pensacola, Florida)
to answer this question and more. Thanks alot to Carey for being our
Profile Artist of the Month! If you want to find out more, please visit
Ladies and Gentleman, Mrs. Carey Colvin!
1. Carey, you've been writing songs for a long time. How did growing
up in different places effect your output as a songwriter and an artist?
I think it made me more aware of the world and what was going on around
me. I write mostly about the human emotion, something I've been conscious
of since I was very young. In my case, growing up in a military environment
in a time of war caused me to experience quite a wealth of emotion -
everything from fear to anger to sadness to joy to excitement. It taught
me that there's always hope in the future, something new and exciting
around the bend. There's also stuff we'd rather not experience around
the bend, but I prefer to dwell on the positive! So, going through all
these changes and emotions in my life made me want to vent, and I became
2. If it's not revealing too many secrets, could you describe for
us your songwriting process? Do you have one sure-fire method that works
or is there more?
Writing comes to me, I don't come to it. Sometimes I'll try writing
with a specific theme or subject in mind, but it doesn't work very often.
The last time I did that I wrote a song about my bunny slippers. Usually,
I'll hear a phrase or a word said by someone, or it will just pop into
my head. At that point, the whole song spills out. I have literally
run for pen and paper or the computer to capture it as it comes out.
For the most part, I hear the entire melody and structure as I write,
including backing vocals, instrumentation, etc. Usually when I write
a song, there's not much fluffing left to do - it pretty much comes
out whole. Those that don't, I recruit Granger's help on. He's got an
amazing ear and will throw in a chord that I didn't think of or reverse
a musical passage - he's great fun to write with.
3. Your CD, "The Distance Wall" has gotten a lot of great acclaim
from both regional and national figures. Can you describe for us the
greatest sense of satisfaction you've had about this CD since it's release?
My greatest satisfaction with this CD is the way the songs evolved during
the recording process and the joy of working with so many of my musician
friends who wanted to be a part of it. The songs on that CD were written
over almost a 20 year period, so it's kind of an anthology for me personally.
I was amazed, having never made a CD before, at the reception it got.
All the reviews have been amazing, and I actually only have 50 copies
left now! I'm also really excited about the new CD, Let It Flow. We're
fundraising to finish it, and it's (in my opinion) better than The Distance
Wall. I've got some amazing musicians on it - Jeff Pevar, Jon Carroll,
Fred Leider, Lisa Taylor, Dana Connor - I can't wait for everyone to
4. I think it's so amazing that you've been able to pursue your music
in addition to being a full time Mom of 4 (?) and wife. How do you do
it and what advice what you give to those who are seeking to do the
You know, we took the two younger kids (10 and 13) on tour with us,
and they had such a good time - and they didn't kill each other! It's
all in how you live your life and the way you treat your kids. I grew
up thinking everyone's dads flew fighter planes upside down for fun,
and was kind of shocked to realize at one point that other dads didn't
do that - and didn't even wear uniforms! So, to me it was normal. To
my kids, their parents being on stage is a normal part of their lives.
You do have to balance it, though. We quit playing bars and nightclubs
when they were little, because you can't drag in at 3:00 am and get
up at 7:00 am to get them ready for school without being cranky to the
kids. So, we started doing day time shows and taking them with us. They've
been to so many fairs and festivals that sometimes they beg to stay
home now! My daughter once told me that watching me pursue my dreams
taught her that she could pursue her dreams as well. So, my advice to
any of you parents out there is to make your kids a part of it. Just
make them feel included. My girls get up and sing with me sometimes,
and my oldest son is my roadie from time to time. My youngest son has
no interest in music at the moment, he just brings his Game Boy and
hangs out while we're on stage. We do volunteer to play at their school
festivals. The kids love it, the schools love it, and we love it.
5. You have just moved to Pensacola, Florida. Will you continue to
perform? What are your musical plans for the future?
Yes, we're going to get involved in the music scene down here and continue
to tour. We had such a blast on our tour this summer, and it's one of
the reasons we decided to move. We figured if we can tour from Virginia,
we can tour from anywhere. So, Granger was offered a job down here,
and we decided to move near the beach. We've always wanted to, and so
we jumped on it. It's fun living three miles from the beach :). Until
hurricane season, that is...!
THE TEN 1. What was your favorite childhood toy?
My stuffed teddy bear named Susie. She went everywhere with me. She
even had her own little blue suitcase that she folded up into. I still
have her and her suitcase, but she's a little flatter now - her stuffing
mildewed, and she's so worn she can't be restuffed.
2. What are your top 5 album pics?
That's a hard one! Let's see...here's five of my favorites, ones I listened
to on the drive down to Florida - but I have so many favorites that
this is just how I feel at the moment:
CPR - CPR
Joni Mitchell - For The Roses
Loggins & Messina - On Stage (live album)
CSNY - Deja Vu
En Vogue - Funky Divas
3. Would you ever consider cashing it all in and becoming an exotic
Well, you know, I was offered that chance 20 years ago and turned it
down...! Now, well, after a few hundred situps, sure! I love to dance
4. What song of yours is your personal fave right now?
Ten Thousand Arrows - I wrote it in about five minutes, and it's on
the new CD. But, it holds a close second to Burn, another one of my
new ones that's on the new CD.
5. Who was the first boy you ever kissed?
Alva Glen Dickerson - I was five years old, and chased him up a tree
(we loved climbing trees, the two of us) trying to kiss him. I caught
6. If you could have dinner with any artist, dead or alive, who
would it be?
Joni Mitchell, hands down. We're both Scorpios and passionate about
our art and life in general, so I think we'd have a great time.
7. Some know that you are friends with David Crosby. Do you think
David is really an alien who decided he wanted to be a superstar in
the form of an alien incarnate, and that perhaps "Wooden Ships" is a
song about primitive space-craft?
Hmmmm, now that could be! I haven't seen any signs of anntennae, though.
He could be wireless :).
8. One of my favorite songs of yours is "Gulf Of Mexico". Is this
where your heart lies and why you're moving back?
Yep! It's funny, I was on the beach the other day (I like saying that!)
and was humming that song to myself. I've run into some old friends,
too, from my biker days down here, and it's just been like coming home.
A little older and a little wiser, but home nonetheless.
9. What show would you most like to perform on: "The Man Show",
"David Letterman" "MTV Cribs" or "Oprah"?
Aw, can't I do them all?! I could definitely hold my own on The Man
Show, I'd have fun doing top tens with David Letterman, MTV Cribs would
like my beach house, and Oprah and I could dish :).
10. Carey what inspires you most?
Living. When you watch what's going on around you, how people react
to things, and listen to the human emotion, you can't help but be inspired.
I'm a very passionate person, so my passion for all things always inspires