“Keep It Goin'” – that seems to be the theme these days in The Barn at Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, N.Y. In fact, one could say that it’s been the theme for many years prior leading up to the iconic Helm’s death in 2012. On November 6, the Georgia born Shawn Mullins kept it going by returning to the intimate studio in support of his latest release, My Stupid Heart, Mullins 9th studio release and 14th overall album dating back to 1992’s Better Days.
The American singer-songwriter, who swiftly acknowledged Helm at the start of the set, is best known for the 1998 single smash hit, “Lullaby” which reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks. Mullins was joined on stage, after “Twin Rocks Oregon” by Tom “Panda” Ryan to a house of nearly 100 or so middle-aged music lovers. Ryan ripped through 14 of the 17-song set on bass guitar providing near perfect harmonies on songs like “Beautiful Wreck” and the Sunshine State inspired “Pre-Apocalyptic Blues,” co-written by Ryan.
There’s a great deal of empathy and even more compassion in Mullin’s live performances these days and he appears to be at ease with where he is in his life, even if his personal past marital relationships have slipped away from him, they are used to fuel the song writing fire on My Stupid Heart. The 10-track release comes from a depressed place which makes it honest and heartfelt and is a record that is not overproduced and closely resembles his masterful live performance passion.
Opening for Mullins was Boston based songwriter Amy Fairchild who entertained on the acoustic guitar but was in her element when she ventured un-mic’d at the piano especially belting out the emotional, “It Won’t Be Mine.”
Setlist: The Great Unknown, Twin Rocks Oregon, Pre-Apocalyptic Blues, Shimmer, Lonesome, I Know You To Well, Sunshine, Ferguson, My Stupid Heart, Catoosa County, Light You Up, California, Ghost of Johnny Cash, Beautiful Wreck, Friday Night Fights At Al’s Place, Lullaby, To Beat The Devil*, House Of The Rising Sun^
* Kris Kristofferson
^ The Animals