Shawn Mullins

Shawn Mullins

Shawn Mullins

Soul’s Core Revisited

Soul Bird

It’s no exaggeration to say that Soul’s Core changed budding singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins’ life beyond recognition when it was released in 1998.

He went from playing dive bars and clubs and touring in a Ford minivan to a #1 selling artist almost overnight thanks to the unexpected success of smash-hit singles like ‘Lullaby’. Now, 20 years since its release he has re-recorded his most famous record and added a bonus acoustic disc for good measure.

Some might say it’s a dangerous game to put a new slant on music so embedded in fans’ minds, but Mullins would rightly argue that over a host of subsequent albums he – and the songs – have evolved since he first shared them with the world.

And longtime fans will be glad to know Mullins hasn’t tinkered too much with the original recipe. The tracklist of Soul’s Core Revival remains the same as the original record, and the Atlanta native’s gorgeous smooth voice hasn’t changed much, although it has a deeper timbre these days.

However, opener “Anchored In You” has had two minutes added to it compared to its big brother and it’s almost advance warning that Soul’s Core Revival isn’t going to be a note-for-note replay.

Songs like the beautiful “Gulf of Mexico” have a more soulful depth than the original, “Twin Rocks Oregon” has a richer musical landscape with added slide guitar and organ. And of all the revived versions, “Ballad of Billie Joe McKay” is the one song that bears very little resemblance to the original – it’s evolved from a stark acoustic presentation to full-band Americana, and Mullins just about gets away with it.

And what of “Shimmer” and “Lullaby”, the songs from the original version of the album that catapulted Mullins’ career into the stratosphere? Well, they’re still here but feel more mature with the benefit of 20 years’ playing them every single show.

Completists will welcome the acoustic portion of Soul’s Core Revival in which Mullins tells the stories behind the songs and performs them with only a stripped-back piano or guitar.

It would have been easy for Mullins to leave the legacy of Soul’s Core untouched, but credit to him for taking a bold move and creating a record in Soul’s Core Revisited that complements rather than competes with the original.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Summerland

    In rural England, a cranky woman bonds with and evacuee boy and uncovers a strange connection to her past.

  • Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
    Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations

    These geniuses of early comedy finally get the presentation they are due in this Blu-ray edition.

  • Four-Letter Words
    Four-Letter Words

    No need to worry about offending delicate sensibilities with this playlist. We’re not talking about profanity, so just take the title at face value.

  • A Genesis In My Bed
    A Genesis In My Bed

    Former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett shares his life story in his story in an engaging and honest memoir. Reading his story feels like hanging out with a friend who’s interested in sharing how he felt living these experiences.

  • The Jayhawks
    The Jayhawks

    XOXO (Sham/Thirty Tigers). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • 18 to Party
    18 to Party

    When you’re in 8th grade, sneaking into a bar is way cooler than it is when you’re 40.

  • Adam

    A pregnant woman finds a home in Casablanca.

  • 2020 on Fire
    2020 on Fire

    Sound Salvation takes on current events with a playlist addressing the current fight for racial and social justice in America and the battles playing out in the streets in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.

  • Pokey Lafarge
    Pokey Lafarge

    Rock Bottom Rhapsody (New West Records). Review by Jeremy Glazier.

  • Landfall

    Cecilia Aldarondo takes a look at Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

From the Archives