By James Calemine
Atlanta, Georgia, native Shawn Mullins gave up a military career for songwriting. He began recording in the early 90s and his songs soon found their way into radio and TV shows.
Honeydew counts as Mullins' 12 album, his second on Vanguard. "All In My Head" opens the CD in a mid-tempo weary rocker that sums up Mullins' recent tragedy in his life. "Home" proves an honest, acoustic song that indicates why his music appeals to people in the image business.
"The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston" tells a story of a lonely old woman living and dying in a bad part of town. "Homeless Joe" spins a yarn about a street musician behind an electric guitar riff that achieves a timeless quality. Mullins wrote all 12 songs on Honeydew.
"Fraction of a Man"--a musical portrait of a traveling salesman--verifies Mullins' style revolves around storytelling. "See That Train" evokes a bluesy-rockabilly sentiment in another venerable train song: "Well her name was Betty Sue/Her kisses taste like honeydew."
"For America" signifies a fine composition for fallen American soldiers in a perilous tale: "One weekend a month and a buck sergeant's pay/But he lost his arm on a Baghdad highway/That's one hell of a price to pay fighting for America..."
In "Cabbagetown" Mullins sings the vivid story of his grandfather in a slow-burning rocker. "Rewind The Years" takes a journey through the past in this sad glance over the shoulder that closes out Honeydew. Mullins' songs contain a power because they speak to the common, hardworking folk...