Shawn Mullins plus Max Gomez
GRAMMY®-nominated singer / songwriter
Friday, Oct 24 - 8pm
GA $28 adv, $32 day of show
Since we last heard from Shawn Mullins on 2008’s honeydew, the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and bandleader has undergone a series of transformative experiences, leading to a second coming for the veteran artist. Evidence of Mullins’ newfound level of musical and lyrical ambition courses comes through with Light You Up (Vanguard Records, Oct. 12). This captivating new song cycle will likely be viewed as a flat-out revelation even by Mullins’ most fervent fans.
His experiences included an indoctrination into the collaborative creative process by numerous bouts of intensive co-writing, in one instance putting him atop of the country charts via a key contribution to the Zac Brown Band’s “Toes,” marking his third #1 single, following 1999’s “Lullaby” and the 2006 Triple A/Americana chart-topper “Beautiful Wreck.” Further co-writing yielded nine of the 11 songs on the new album, which Mullins believes represents the strongest, most expressive writing of his distinguished career. All of this creative activity was topped off by the birth of Shawn’s first child, Murphy, in August of 2009.
These two crucial realizations are at the center of Light You Up. The new album reaches out, boldly and magnanimously, into present-day existence—and at times like these, like-minded individuals can find strength in numbers. In this sense, the process that brought the new album to life parallels its underlying theme of banding together. Light You Up is an ensemble album through and through, the result of creative interaction from the writing through the recording. Tracking began with two weeks of playing and recording live at Mullins’ rustic Georgia cabin with his core musicians—drummer Gerry Hansen, bassist Patrick Blanchard and guitarist Davis Causey . The project continued with the addition of Hammond B3 organ and other keyboards from Marty Kearns, pedal steel from Dan Dugmore and Clay Cook, saxes from Tom Ryan, a string quartet and additional percussion.
The album is overflowing with perfect rhymes, telling detail and underlying intimations. This is uncommonly literate stuff, striking in its insightfulness and compassion. Delivered by Mullins in his companionable baritone, as lived-in and textured as your favorite pair of faded jeans, amid the relentless rhythms, churning Hammond organ runs and swooping guitar lines, every line is absolutely spellbinding, adding incrementally to the album’s gripping intensity. “I felt like I needed to get the listener’s attention with this record,” says Shawn. He can consider that a mission accomplished.