Mullins shares songwriting talent with Grass Valley’a Center for the Arts crowd
Know & Go
WHO: The Center for the Arts presents
WHAT: Shawn Mullins with Max Gomez opening
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23
WHERE: The Center for the Arts
314 W Main Street, Grass Valley, CA 95945
TICKETS: $22 members, $25 non-member
The Center Box Office - 530-274-8384 ext 14
BriarPatch Co-op Community Market - 530-272-5333
Tickets online at http://www.thecenterforthearts.org
Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and bandleader Shawn Mullins will bring his blend of folk and instrumental rock and American music to Grass Valley for a concert presented by The Center for the Arts on Oct. 23.
Mullins is best known for the 1998 single “Lullaby” which hit number one on the Adult Top 40 and was nominated for a Grammy Award. Mullins has maintained an enduring career on the fringe, recording 11 albums, and working with fellow musicians like Matthew Sweet and the Zac Brown Band.
“It’s my job as a songwriter to write a song that speaks to the listener and makes them feel something. It’s not about genres to me. It’s about writing really good songs. That’s always the goal.”
Mullins avoids genre boundaries as witnessed by his recent co-writing with the Zac Brown Band. His contributions to the band’s single, “Toes” put the song at the top of the country charts. This marked Mullins third number one 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 his newest album, “Light You Up,” what he believes is the strongest, most expressive writing of his career.
“Light You Up” is an ensemble album. 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.
Shawn’s friend and collaborator, Nashville pro, Chuck Cannon (Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson), co-wrote the songs, “California” and “Light You Up.”
“A lot of songwriters will work on a song for a few hours, and when it’s pretty good they’ll call it quits. When Cannon and I are working, we won’t leave a song unfinished. There’s a lot of tweaking and fine-tuning until we know the song is right.”
Young singer-songwriter in the seasoned vein of Jackson Browne and John Prine, Max Gomez grew up splitting his time between the sloping mountains of Taos, New Mexico and on his family’s ranch in the rolling plains of Kansas. In Taos, Gomez was inspired to explore his art and the ethos behind it.
The son of an artisanal furniture craftsman, Gomez grew up watching his father, learning the tools of the trade while simultaneously learning his way around the frets of his guitar. The workmanlike quality of his songwriting carries over from his days spent in the woodshed through an economy of words, phrase and narrative.
A blues enthusiast from an early age, a young Gomez immersed himself in the Delta and traditional folk blues of Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy and Robert Johnson. Once he honed his chops on the blues, Gomez turned his interest to traditional American folk music.
“I’m influenced by the old stuff. To me, that’s the best music,” he said.
On the album, “Rule The World,” produced by Jeff Trott (Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow) Gomez traverses varying themes of heartbreak, regret, young love, desperation and, ultimately redemption. Gomez’s songs are filled with raw emotion and capture the spirit of those who came before him.
“The songs I write are not real straightforward. You have to decode them. I like when the listener has to create their own story, rather than be told what’s happening,” he said.
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