By Lolis Eric Elie
I’ve been hearing “I’m Gone” in my head ever since my first listen.
On her record ‘These Four Walls,’ Shawn plays the song accompanied by drums, bass and a subtle baritone saxophone. Onstage in Episode 204, it’s just guitar, voice and violin. With either configuration, the singer and song shine with a haunting clarity and beautiful sadness.
There are things I will do
For a hatchet job too
There’s a new kid in town.
I caught up with Shawn by phone recently to talk about the song, the performance and her most recent television credit.
Q: Why did you choose this particular song to perform in your scene with Annie at House of Blues? Judging by YouTube covers, this is your most popular song.
SC: I didn’t choose it, honestly. I’m very happy that it was chosen. I gave you guys four and [Blake Leyh and Eric Overmyer] went with “I’m Gone,” which I was really glad about. [The other possibilities were “Tuff Kid,” “Cinnamon Road” and “That Don’t Worry Me Now.”] It was kind of a darker song, and I thought it would be really well suited to the violin and to Annie. It’s not a most-requested song. Not to my knowledge. People aren’t asking for it.
Q: As a former guitar player, I have to ask you about what kind of guitar you play.
SC: On the episode I played a Martin guitar, a signature model of my own. They asked me if I wanted to have a signature model guitar. Of course I did. So I helped design it. I asked for it to be a smaller body and a smaller neck. I’d played Martin Dreadnoughts up until then. I basically wanted it to be very simple in design. I had other people advise me as far as the woods go.
Q: You’ve had other television experience. For example, you were on ‘The Larry Sanders Show.’ What was that like?
SC: I also voiced a character on ‘The Simpsons’ for two episodes. I did a guest spot in a show called ‘Suddenly Susan.’ But I played myself in all these things, so I don’t think it counts as acting. I admire actors. Acting inspires me. I’d like to think I could act, but I know better. I’m not a trained actor.
Q: You are a singer-songwriter. Our character, Annie, is moving in that direction. Any advice for her?
SC: Writing didn’t come very easy to me. I always tried to write a little bit. The thing that helped me the most was trying to understand what I was best at. My strength is that I can play and sing by myself and do a good job of it. That’s the quintessence of a singer-songwriter, I guess. Just play and play and play and play. Keep playing, even if it’s on the street.
Q: Have you played much on the street?
SC: I just played in clubs and bars.
Q: How do you handle it when people are not listening?
SC: When people aren’t listening, you can use it as an opportunity to play things you don’t know as well, or just try something outrageous and see if you can get their attention. I wasn’t really bothered that much if people weren’t listening because I just liked playing and it gave me a chance to really mess around.