Sarah Jarosz. Photo by Kaitlyn Raitz

The planets are aligning for fans of singer-songwriters on Friday when Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn and Sarah Jarosz converge on Portland’s State Theatre.

“I think it’s a great ride for the audience,” said Jarosz, from the tour bus en route to a show in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Rather than taking turns, all three musicians will be on stage together all night, singing and playing each other’s originals, as well as some covers, including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “The Waiting” and Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.”

Among the three of them, they have released more than 23 albums and have won nine Grammy Awards. They’ve also all worked with famed producer John Leventhal on some of their recordings.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them all live before, but the thought of them on stage all at once is making me consider tucking a packet of smelling salts into my pocket in case my concert date has to revive me.

The songwriting, musicianship and vocals are all exceptional.


Jarosz, who is from Texas and currently lives in Nashville, gets it. She grew up listening to Cohn’s and even more of Colvin’s music and is thrilled to be collaborating with them.

“I think it says a lot about Shawn and Marc that they’re willing to tour around with the next generation, ” said Jarosz, who is 31, while Cohn and Colvin are both in their 60s. “To just be giving of their musicality and their spirit and their wisdom, it’s so cool and it’s full circle.”

Colvin lent her harmony vocals to Jarosz’s track “Run Away” from the 2011 album “Follow Me Down” and joined her on stage for a show in Austin, Texas, to sing it.

In 2021, the tour was going to feature Cohn, Colvin and David Crosby, but COVID-19 put a wrench in those plans. Then Crosby was replaced with Mary Chapin Carpenter, but conflicts with her schedule meant that another artist was needed to fill in occasionally. Sara Watkins from Nickel Creek stepped in for some dates, and Jarosz first played with Cohn and Colvin together when she filled in for Mary Chapin Carpenter at three shows during a 2021 tour. The shows went so well that they decided to plan their own tour, which started in January and wraps up next week.

Marc Cohn. Photo by Jesse Gassaway

I told Jarosz that, although Cohn’s hit song “Walking in Memphis” was released 32 years ago, I still turn it up and sing along when it comes on the radio because it hasn’t lost any of its impact. She told me that’s the one song he does alone at the piano.

“One of the highlights of the shows is being able to sit back during that and just watch the audience absolutely light up.”


Many years ago, Cohn opened for Bonnie Raitt in Portland, and the audience did indeed light up during “Walking in Memphis.” History should repeat itself on Friday.

Jarosz shared that on Jan. 18, she, Cohn and Colvin were 30 seconds into their first rehearsal for the tour when they learned that David Crosby had died. They all knew him and shared both tears and stories as they processed the news. “He was a champion of all three of us,” said Jarosz.

Since the tour started, they’ve been trying to figure out a proper tribute to Crosby. Just a few days ago, they started to play “The Lee Shore.” The song is an outtake from the 1970 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album “Déjà Vu” and is on the 50th anniversary edition of it, as well as on the 1971 live album “4 Way Street.” “It has been really special to play,” said Jarosz.

Shawn Colvin. Photo by Lynn Goldsmith

As for Colvin, she released her debut album “Steady On” in 1989, and it won her a Grammy for best contemporary folk album. It also made me a fan for life, so much so that I have a huge tattoo of one of the lyrics from 1992’s “Fat City” album on my left forearm.

I couldn’t resist asking Jarosz to spill a little tea about what touring life is like with Cohn and Colvin. I was rewarded with learning that Cohn is a salmon fanatic and orders it in just about every city. Jarosz has started to follow in his footsteps.

Speaking of which, Jarosz said that Colvin is a fashion icon, and she loved one particular pair of Colvin’s shoes so much that she recently bought a matching pair.

Jarosz said that her next album is done and will be released this year. Her most recent is 2021’s critically acclaimed “Blue Heron Suite.” She also told me that I’m With Her, the trio she’s in with Aoife O’Donovan and Sara Watkins, has had a couple of writing sessions, and although there’s no specific date, there will be new music coming.

Shawn Colvin, Marc Cohn & Sarah Jarosz
8 p.m. Friday. State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland, $35 to $65 reserved seating.

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