Album Reviews

Shawn Mullins

My Stupid Heart

Artist:     Shawn Mullins

Album:     My Stupid Heart

Label:     Sugar Hill / Rounder

Release Date:     10/23/2015


Addressing the volatile Ferguson, Missouri issue in a song takes balls. To make it work so damn well, so soon after the fact, you have to toss the politics and come off temperate to both sides. Shawn Mullins nailed it all on “Ferguson,” from My Stupid Heart. What begins as gospel—mirroring the origins of the gospel singers—becomes elevated levels of anguish– smoldering, flickering, and exploding into wicked blues, all from the standpoint of mothers and fathers of race and slavery. And Mullins never judges—the title of the song is the only indication of its genesis. Not a mention of a gun. What a fantastic song. And what great guitar in it, perfectly emphasizing the gravity. Mullins, who normally sings in a broken baritone—not quite a croak—sounds almost heavy metal-passionate towards the end.

Two songs in and Shawn Mullins— an Army vet from Georgia, with 25 years worth of albums and even a couple of hits—has already outdone himself. And it ain’t all doom and gloom, far from it. Humor often lights up a Mullins song, and the music and attitude behind “It All Comes Down To Love” opens the album with quirky, irresistible glee. From there, it settles into this great, winding groove, all the way to the intense magnetism surrounding the album-ending “Pre-Apocalyptic Blues,” with its French Quarter everything. Mullins and a host of great players bring to life the folk-rock-nearly-operatic nature of the title song, before rolling easily into the charging country of “Roll On By.” That’s really something, all these disparate elements flowing like a fine breeze. My Stupid Heart is an outstanding album.

– Tom Clarke

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