An Atlanta-based folksinger best known for his Top Ten hit "Lullaby," Shawn Mullins was serving as a member of the U.S. Army Airborne Infantry Division when he released his first self-titled cassette (issued on his own label, SM) in 1989.
Following the release of 1991's Everchanging World, he left the military after eight years to pursue music on a full-time basis. After three years spent fruitlessly searching for a record deal, Mullins established a new label, SMG, and released the LPs Better Days and Big Blue Sky in the interim. Jeff's Last Dance, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (live companion discs recorded jointly with Matthew Kahler) arrived in 1995, and Mullins returned a year later with the solo effort Eggshells.
Released in 1998, Soul's Core marked his first album for a major label, Columbia Records; it also signaled his critical breakthrough, as the single "Lullaby" became a chart-topping single on the adult Top 40 charts. The album eventually went platinum, paving the way for an anthology of the singer's early work with 1999's The First Ten Years. In fall 2000, Mullins released the official follow-up to Soul's Core, Beneath the Velvet Sun. The Essential Shawn Mullins collection arrived in 2003, followed by 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor for Vanguard Records in 2006. He remained with Vanguard for 2008's Honeydew, which was inspired by (and recorded in) his native Georgia. Live at the Variety Playhouse was released that same year, capturing a sold-out Mullins performance in Atlanta.
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