Shawn Mullins

Light You Up

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AllMusic Review by

It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again: those who think Shawn Mullins’ discography starts and stops with his 1998 chart-topper “Lullaby” are missing out on one of Atlanta’s better Americana artists. Now in his early forties, Mullins has developed the sort of weary, lived-in baritone that suits his music, and he tailors his folk songs to an adult contemporary audience. As a result, Light You Up bridges the gap between “Lullaby,” with its easygoing acoustic ambience and PG-rated charm, and 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor, the roots rock album that reignited Mullins’ career in 2006. That being said, this isn’t his most ambitious work to date; it’s pleasantly produced but a bit over-polished, and it trades 9th Ward’s rustic risk-taking for a more comfortable, easygoing track list. The songs shine whenever Mullins digs deep into his Southern heritage, though, yielding scattered highlights like the boogie-jam-rocker “You Make It Better” and the swampy, six-minute soul number “Light You Up.”

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