Written by Michael Pittman
Apr 19, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageThis show was perhaps my most anticipated show of the year, ohhh,  the last several years in fact. My son actually introduced me to Shawn Mullins way back when Lullaby came out as the leading song from 1998’s Soul’s Core project.  It just took us a while to catch on because that was actually the 7th CD project for this incredibly talented singer-songwriter.

Mullins came in all the way from Atlanta and brought Nashville’s Chuck Cannon with him which ought to say something about the power of this show. Cannon is no stranger to the Houston area and has penned songs for Toby Keith, Wynona Judd and J. Michael Montgomery.  I came in during the latter part of Cannon’s set but I immediately wished I had arrived a little earlier. I had been at a photo shoot and only managed to break away in time to jam a burger down and get over to Dosey Doe’s Big Barn, but was impressed by the effortless guitar playing and the smooth voice and comfortable stage presence of this seasoned performer.

I looked up and realized that Mullins was sittin in with Cannon. I don’t know how long he had been up on stage but it turned out to be a shared experience the entire night since Cannon wound up sitting in with Mullins almost his entire set. The respect they obviously shared was mutual and egos fell to the wayside as Cannon led his set and Mullins led his.

By the way, in case you’re not familiar with the name, Mullins did Lullaby (Everything’s gonna be alright…Rockaby…Rockaby), Shimmer and Beautiful Wreck all of which were mega hits. His last project Light You Up was released in 2010. He promised a new CD soon..maybe as early as May and I hope he comes back for a CD release party. (Shawn..if you’re listening that’s a HINT).  It will feature Chuck Cannon.

The thing about good songwriting and performing is that it doesn’t fade or tarnish with time. Such is the nature of Mullins’ material in that each time you listen to one of his songs, you hear something new. It might be a phrase, or the inflection of his voice, or a guitar lick or a combination of all the above that you hear in a new way.  Tonight he played us a sort of ‘best of’ set to a crowd of perhaps 150 lasting over an hour and a half with a 2 song encore before the house lights came up and the evening was finished.

There are few singer/songwriters that pack as much into a lyric as Mullins does and names like Joni Mitchell, Willis Alan Ramsey, Guy Clark and Michael Franks come to mind.

ImageThe first song of the night was Twin Rocks, Oregon which is an earthy chronicle of a man he shared a bottle of wine with and whose conversation becomes a metaphor for lyric in song and song in lyric..ain’t it good to be able to do what you wanna do? Yea, it set the stage and we were hanging on every word..you coulda heard a pin drop.

The next song was one from the upcoming CD titled She Completes Me (I hope I have the right).  ‘She turned the key on this rusty heart’.. I mean…can’t you hear the door squeaking?

As I was driving I put on 9th Ward Pickin Parlor and was hoping Blue as You was on the setlist. I managed to get a copy of the setlist after the show and even though Blue wasn’t on the list he played it so he must have known I was coming and read my mind..who knows, but I’m glad it made it into the rotation.

As I mentioned Cannon sat in with Mullins on Mullins’ set and they sounded natural and fluid together, but the highlight had to be The Ghost of Johnny Cash. When the song was over there was silence.  It was as if the audience wasn’t ready to let go of the spirit and held its collective breath hoping for just one more verse.  It was a totally touching song…one of the best that evening.

The encore consisted of a cover of an old Animals song, House of the Rising Sun which Mullins knocked outa the park with his patented dark soul sound and a song from the upcoming CD called Outa This Town. This one is actually one he and Cannon co-wrote.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this show and I’ll rank it with one of the all time best I’ve ever seen.  When Mullins comes back around do yourself a favor and make sure to catch his show.  He truly showcases the best of the singer/songwriter’s art in a way that grabs you, holds you and won’t let you down.

I managed to speak to Shawn after the show and he reiterated over and over again how comfortable everyone at Dosey Doe made him and how much he enjoyed this show.  I hope he comes back soon!


Twin Rocks, Oregon
She Completes Me
Beautiful Wreck
Light You Up
Ghost Of Johnny Cash
Lonesone, I Know You Too Well
Somethin to Believe In
Catoosa County
Sunday Morning Coming Down (replaced by Blue as You…I think)

House of the Rising Sun
Outa This Town