honeydew is Shawn Mullins’ second release for Vanguard Records and sees him finding a niche that suits him rather more than the overnight success which came his way following the smash-hit success of his major-label debut,Soul’s Core, back in 1998.
Fans who remember Mullins purely for his breakthrough single “Lullaby” will be slightly surprised by the bluesy vibe of “See That Train”, but longtime admirers of the Atlanta singer-songwriter will know diversity has always been a trademark of his records.
The insanely catchy album opener “All In My Head” is the album’s first single, but where honeydew really shines is in Mullins’ ability to paint evocative pictures of people and scenes from his native city, both from the past and present. The chilling “The Ballad of Kathryn Johnson” tells the story of an elderly Atlanta resident who was shot by police when they forced entry into her home by mistake, while “Homeless Joe” chronicles the day-to-day life of a real-life homeless troubadour in the city. But the finest cut of an album characterized by vivid glimpses of humanity is the nostalgic “Home”, which pays affectionate tribute to an old friend of Mullins and then binds her story into a potted history of Atlanta itself.
On honeydew, Shawn Mullins has focused on his natural storytelling voice, and even though he may no longer be in the glare of the media spotlight, I guess he prefers it that way.
Shawn Mullins: www.shawnmullins.com