11 Songs, 46 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On Light You Up, Shawn Mullins returns to the decadent L.A. environs portrayed in his signature 1998 “Lullaby” with greater poetic command and more mature insight. With his melodious, slightly rasped-edged vocals, Mullins brings a sense of experience to such story-songs as “California” (the tale of two high-living lovers) and “Tinseltown” (an ode to contentment with a Tom Petty-ish feel). The country-rocking “Murphy’s Song” further underscores the theme of growing up and settling down. This isn’t to say that Light You Up is purely a celebration of domestic bliss. A sense of rage at injustice courses through the Civil War ballad “Catoosa County” and the workingman’s lament “Can’t Remember Summer.” “The Ghost of Johnny Cash” — a vivid portrait of the Man in Black as a tarnished angel — works in a traditional folk mode, while the seductive title tune luxuriates in a Memphis soul-funk groove. The album benefits from stylish production that matches tasty rock-guitar licks with acoustic sounds.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On Light You Up, Shawn Mullins returns to the decadent L.A. environs portrayed in his signature 1998 “Lullaby” with greater poetic command and more mature insight. With his melodious, slightly rasped-edged vocals, Mullins brings a sense of experience to such story-songs as “California” (the tale of two high-living lovers) and “Tinseltown” (an ode to contentment with a Tom Petty-ish feel). The country-rocking “Murphy’s Song” further underscores the theme of growing up and settling down. This isn’t to say that Light You Up is purely a celebration of domestic bliss. A sense of rage at injustice courses through the Civil War ballad “Catoosa County” and the workingman’s lament “Can’t Remember Summer.” “The Ghost of Johnny Cash” — a vivid portrait of the Man in Black as a tarnished angel — works in a traditional folk mode, while the seductive title tune luxuriates in a Memphis soul-funk groove. The album benefits from stylish production that matches tasty rock-guitar licks with acoustic sounds.

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