Shawn Mullins


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Coming on the heels of the fairly fabulous Big Blue Sky is a tall order for any album, and Eggshells does its best to be a strong follow-up. Most of the moments of it clear the bar, but others fall the slightest bit shy. The title track finds Shawn Mullins in a haunting, soulful mood, and to great effect. "Drumming Clown," "Cycle of Our Souls," "Song to the Self," "Bitter Tears," and "Shimmer" all match its introspective beauty. Mullins and his deep, emotive voice really lend themselves well to these darker compositions. That's not to say the other stuff is bad. No sir. "Where's Johnny," "Joshua," and "She" are also fine tunes. Then there's "Salt Lake City 1973," a brilliant spoken word/editorial piece detailing a family vacation into Mormon country, as told from the eyes of a five-year old Mullins. Interspersed between some of the songs are spoken introductions by Mullins serving as signposts, if you will, to guide the listener through the album and create a sweet intimacy. To trace the roots of an artist can be very telling. Take "Shimmer," for example, as it's a Mullins favorite. The acoustic rendering of it found here shines with simplicity, but was only a precursor to the fully produced version that appears on his 1998 Soul's Core, the album that brought Mullins' breakthrough success. A great song is a great song, no matter the production.

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