SHAWN MULLINS TRANSFORMS HIS 1998 BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM
WITH 2018’s SOUL’S CORE REVIVAL
The celebrated “Lullaby” singer-songwriter delivers new acoustic and full-band studio versions of his platinum-selling major-label debut, due out Nov. 16.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Twenty years ago, one record changed Shawn Mullins’ life. “I had no idea anything like that would ever happen with that song,” he says now, referring to “Lullaby,” his chart-topping 1998 single. “Back then I just wrote whatever I felt and I must’ve got lucky once,” he adds with a chuckle.
“Lullaby” appeared on Soul’s Core, the Atlanta singer-songwriter’s major label debut. Now, two decades later, Mullins is revisiting the album that catapulted him from the folk circuit to the international spotlight. For Soul’s Core Revival, out November 16 on his own Soul Carnival Records, Mullins delivers brand-new full-band and solo acoustic versions of each of the album’s 13 tracks, breathing fresh life into songs he wrote as a young troubadour, traveling the country in a Ford minivan with his guitar and his dog Roadie.
Though Mullins is justifiably proud of the album he made 20 years ago, a simple reissue didn’t feel like the right way to celebrate it. “The songs, they mean something different to me now,” he explains. “I sing them differently.” He was also eager to capture them in the studio with his longtime touring band, Soul Carnival. “The way we’re playing these songs live and stretching them out, people seem to get totally blown away with it. So I thought, let’s put that on the record.”
Working with producer/drummer Gerry “Gator” Hansen, original Soul’s Core engineer Glenn Matullo, and legendary engineer/mixer John Keane (R.E.M., Indigo Girls, Widespread Panic) at Keane’s studio in Athens, Georgia, Mullins and his band recorded the tracks live, with no Pro Tools and minimal overdubs, giving the project a timeless, vintage quality perfectly suited to his wise-beyond-his-years snapshots of touring life in the ’90s. “I really like that old-school approach,” Mullins says. “It’s important for it to be played by humans and not screwed with a whole lot.”
In addition to the full-band versions, Soul’s Core Revival also features a disc of solo acoustic renditions of Soul’s Core 13 tracks, each introduced with a brief story about the song’s genesis. We learn how Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco inspired “Lullaby,” the tragic yet ultimately uplifting story behind fan favorite “Shimmer,” and that Mullins really was “parked on the state line on a cold November day” when he wrote “The Gulf of Mexico” in the parking lot of the famed Flora-Bama roadhouse.