The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now available for a March 3, 2013 concert starring grammy-nominated singer songwriter of the chart topping Lullaby and Beautiful Wreck, Shawn Mullins with special guest Mindy Smith.
Taking place on the stage of the Pollak Theatre, the 7 p.m. event is a late addition to the current Performing Arts series on the West Long Branch campus – and a welcome addition to the schedule at what’s become one of the region’s top theater venues for intimate music events.
It’s also a chance for the smoky-voiced Mullins to showcase the cool and knowing music he’s been making since his single “Lullaby” and album Soul’s Core took the world by storm (and by surprise) in 1998. The international chart-topper fused acoustic troubador storytelling with hip-hop and alt-rock flavors, propelling the hardworking Atlanta-based artist to TV appearances and touring spots with the hottest pop acts of the era.
As his intensely loyal fanbase could confirm, however, Shawn Mullins was just getting warmed up – and a refusal to be defined by one early “monster hit” has resulted in a multi-faceted body of recorded work that would be the envy of any festival’s worth of talent. The versatile songwriter’s willingness to push the outer limits of the “one man/ one guitar” template is on vivid display with Light You Up – the most recent Mullins release on the venerable Vanguard label, and a set that finds him prowling the battle-scarred backroads of “Catoosa County” to the dream boulevards of “Tinseltown,” with stopovers at radio-ready country, moody bluegrass ballads, sparkling pop, and four-on-the-floor rock.
It goes without saying, then, that a live performance by Mullins is an experience that can find him quantum-leaping into characters from the forgotten shoulders of the interstates; showing off a vocal dexterity that can veer in an instant from a world-weary speaksing to a hook-friendly falsetto; even producing an ace-in-the-hole cover of the traditional “House of the Rising Sun.”
For the Sunday concert at Monmouth, Mullins will be joined by another young veteran of the Vanguard label stable – Mindy Smith, the native New Yorker whose facility with folk-country, contemporary gospel (the hit “Come to Jesus”) and Americana styles has allowed her to wrap her sweetly gorgeous voice around Dolly Parton’s “Jolene,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Little Lies” and a catalog of originals that, as evidenced on her recent self-titled, self-released CD, shine with a sharpened sense of confidence. Taken together with the urban noirs and highway romances of Shawn Mullins, this is music that paints a portrait of America – an evening of story-song from two of its finest crafters.
The current Performing Arts series at Monmouth University continues into 2013 with concerts by Red Horse (March 23), John Hammond (April 5), Southside Johnny and the Poor Fools (April 13), and Roger McGuinn (April 19). For additional information on these and other events, or to purchase tickets, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. To schedule an interview, please contact Eileen Chapman at 732-571-3512.