The first song I heard of Shawn Mullins' was a song called "Lullaby" about a daughter of famous parents who grew up in the Hollywood Hills with a tormented soul and the "Lullaby" he sings to her as she's about to cry "....everything's going to be alright, rockabye, rockabye....". Needless to say I wasn't very impressed, though it was a catchy tune, it got significantly over-played, and his talk/singing schtick did very little but to annoy me. I tuned the guy out, even as I got to see him play a live free show (which at the time was unbearable) at Knotts Berry Farm just before Christmas several years ago. In 1999 he had a song called "Shimmer" on the Dawson's Creek Soundtrack which made me turn my head and think...."....true love it is like a rock, smoothed over by a stream, and no ticking of the clock truly measures what that means and this thing we call our time, I heard a brilliant woman say, she said you know it's crazy how I want to try and capture mine, I think I love this woman's way, I think I love this woman the way she shimmers the way she shines the way she radiates..." The song got to me in a way that I didn't expect - it showed a deeper side to him while making you sing along about the world. My mind was slowly being swayed into his fan club. But it wasn't until his 2000 release Beneath The Velvet Sun and a song called "Everywhere I go" that I was fully in his camp. A basic idea, nothing earth shattering, but it grabbed me - it was hopeful, uplifting, a happy tune - this guys got a balance to his songs, at once very hummable, and yet really making a point the way Natalie Merchant is so very capable of doing. The melodies belie the meaning of the words.
He is, like James Blunt, a former Army Sergeant who had gone to High School with Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls. Thanks to his alliance with them he got his lucky break after leaving the Army and has quietly set the Southern landscape from which he came on fire. Like the Indigo Girls, his songs are often about life in Georgia, with a wordly twist. You get the sense that this guy is well read, thoughtful, sensitive and now that he's actually singing his songs, his voice has a roughness that keeps them from being sleepy, which is also thankful to the more pop-like production values. He walks that line between pop, folk and what could be country if given the right mix down. His latest CD, 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor, was released earlier this year and while I have only heard one song, "Beautiful Wreck", it's a great one (a more grown-up version of "Lullaby") and surely a CD worth looking into as it boasts many fine collaborations, including two of my favourites, Pete Droge, and Matthew Sweet. Overall, I think this guy has a lot to offer the world of song writing. He's surprisingly deeper than the average bear, with melodies that grab you, and don't let you forget them. I am reminded of how diverse he is as I listen to him on shuffle while writing this blog. There are moments where I want to get up and dance around, and others where I want to sit in a bar and shed a tear or two. He's that good.
I wasn't sure what to write about for this blog, it's been a busy week, I started a part-time job to get me to the Holidays (working run crew for a kids Theatre company doing Annie) and making significant progress on the new demo/EP. Then this morning I was sleeping, something I enjoy doing in the mornings after working into the night on the demo/EP that has no name, when a car alarm went off. It was a very harsh awakening, I thought an ambulance was driving into my bedroom to save me from my clean laundry I have yet to put away from thursday (the joys of living alone), but I realized it was some useless car alarm that no one pays attention to. If you ask me - I've never called the police whence hearing one of those damn things. I've never tried to stop someone from breaking into a car or even question what the hell they are doing. They are a nuisance that everyone complains about for inevitably disturbing what little oxymoronic silence we have in this city. Matters aren't helped by the fact that I live behind a busy boulevard and below a fat-ass who stomps on my head every chance she gets, to say nothing of her noisy dogs who kept me awake last night. Now as I write this the 'gardeners' are outside blowing shit around with their hand held leaf blowers and yelling at each other in some ungodly tones. Their level of uselessness confounds me - I'll save that for another blog - but I will say this - we don't have a yard in this building that needs gardening. Do the math. At this moment my head is about to explode and it doesn't feel like it's on straight right now.
Thanks for tuning in....Until next Monday...CHEERS!!!!