Beneath the Velvet Sun

Beneath the Velvet Sun

by Shawn Mullins
     
 

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Since he had nearly a decade's worth of touring -- and a sizable number of releases -- under his belt before breaking through to mainstream success with the 1998 hit "Lullaby," Shawn Mullins seemed more likely to survive so-called "overnight success" than most. With Beneath the Velvet Sun, his first album since becoming a known entity, the laid-back AtlantanSee more details below

Overview

Since he had nearly a decade's worth of touring -- and a sizable number of releases -- under his belt before breaking through to mainstream success with the 1998 hit "Lullaby," Shawn Mullins seemed more likely to survive so-called "overnight success" than most. With Beneath the Velvet Sun, his first album since becoming a known entity, the laid-back Atlantan doesn't disappoint, delivering a cleverly proportioned mix of burnished folk-rock and evocative Southern gothic allegory, which collide with terrific force on "Yellow Dog Song." Mullins deviates from his proven formula fairly often, however, tossing in songs as offbeat as the trip-hoppy "Valentine" and the smooth, Barry White-styled soul stirrer "North on I-95." Mullins calls on a pair of similarly minded women to provide vocal foils here: Country star Shelby Lynne takes the spotlight on the jarring "I Know" and labelmate Shawn Colvin prompts the melody of the aching "Somethin' to Believe In." At once comforting, challenging, and a tad creepy, Beneath the Velvet Sun wraps the ears in the sort of sound conjured up by that edge-of-darkness title.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
"Lullaby" was more than just a one-off novelty hit that unexpectedly established the career of longtime indie singer/songwriter Shawn Mullins in 1998-1999 (though it was that, too). It was a song that encapsulated both of Mullins' strongest traits. In its semi-spoken verses, he revealed his eye for detail and his sardonic outlook; in its choruses, he demonstrated his ability to craft a pop hook. On Beneath the Velvet Sun, his first real major-label album (its predecessor, Soul's Core, was picked up by Columbia after release on his own SMG label), Mullins leans more to the latter tendency, but he provides enough of the former to pacify the audience he earned with "Lullaby." The album's first single, "Everywhere I Go," is a good example of Mullins' pop talent, a catchy but somewhat weightless effort with a bland love lyric. But the song Columbia really should have released as the first single is the lead-off track, "Up All Night," a story song about a lowlife rock & roll couple full of Mullins' wry observations and the album's only song to be half-spoken in the style of "Lullaby." A bigger budget allows the artist to indulge in string and horn sections here and there, demonstrating the breadth of his stylistic reach. But the fans he earned with "Lullaby" are more likely to respond to more conventional pop
ock songs like "Amy's Eyes," not only because of its catchiness but also because of its name-dropping third-person description. Another good song is "Santa Fe," a driving song with a twangy guitar hook and more of Mullins' individual characterizations. If one of these songs takes off, it may not matter (at least to the bottom line) that there are too many simpleminded, vague love songs among the other tracks. But Beneath the Velvet Sun is the uneven work of a talented artist who doesn't seem to trust the idiosyncratic approach that brought him to national attention enough to really let himself go. You can hardly blame him for trying to play it safe, given his one-hit wonder status, but the album's very bow to commercialism may keep it from being the hit it might have been.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/24/2000
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0074646216026
catalogNumber:
62160

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Shawn Mullins   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Strings,Vocals,Mellotron,Omnichord,Wurlitzer,Moog Lead
Shelby Lynne   Vocals
Shawn Colvin   Vocals
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus   String Quartet
Kim Bullard   Clavinet,Mellotron,chamberlain,Wurlitzer
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
Luis Conte   Percussion
David Hancock   Cello
Reid Harris   Viola
David Immerglück   Mandolin
Jay Joyce   Guitar,Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar,Talk Box,Guitar (Baritone)
Ricky Keller   Bass,Group
Randy Kerber   Piano (Upright)
David LaBruyere   Bass
Mike Lawler   Organ,Hammond Organ,Clavinet
John Madgett   Background Vocals
Elizabeth Murphy   Cello
Heidi Nitchie   Viola
Lorentz Ottezen   Violin
David Patterson   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Classical Guitar
John Pierce   Bass
Julian Raymond   Vocals,Vocal Harmony
Marty Rifkin   Dobro
Bennett Salvay   Organ,Piano,Harpsichord
Willard Shull   Violin
Michael Ward   Electric Guitar
Oliver Wells   Conductor,Background Vocals
Walter Carter   Background Vocals
Alfreda Gerald   Background Vocals
Spanky   Sampling
David Arenz   Violin
David Braitberg   Violin
Anthony J. Resta   Synthesizer,Percussion,Piano,Strings,Drums,Keyboards,Oboe,Turntables,Moog Synthesizer,Mellotron,chamberlain,Prophet Synthesizer,bass pedals,Wurlitzer,Moog Drum
Jun-Ching Lin   Violin
Douglas Sommer   Bass
Paul Murphy   Viola
Garret Savluk   Trumpet
Taj Artis   Background Vocals
Bonds   DJ
Nicole Chillemi   Background Vocals
Jay Christy   Violin
Henry Douglas   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Jere Flint   Cello
Carolyn Hancock   Violin
Daniel Laufer   Cello
Cheryl Renee   Background Vocals
Ronda Respress   Violin
Stephen Sadler   Mandolin,Lap Steel Guitar,Guitar (Baritone)
Kyle Shiver   Background Vocals
Ralph Jones   Bass
Eric Johnson   Viola

Technical Credits

Kim Bullard   Programming,Loop
Greg Goldman   Engineer
Bernie Grundman   Mastering
Ricky Keller   Arranger,String Arrangements,String Conductor
David Patterson   Introduction
Julian Raymond   Producer
Shawn Mullins   Producer
Lee Dannay   Direction
Gail Marowitz   Art Direction
Anthony J. Resta   Programming,Producer
Joseph Bishara   Programming
Glenn Matullo   Engineer
Brett Allen   Guitar Techician
Myshkin   Inspiration
Garret Savluk   Horn Arrangements
Jac Cain   Guitar Techician
Bryan Cook   Engineer
Stephen Sadler   Introduction
Kariadi Sutedja   Engineer
Dan Tamlow   Engineer
Mickey Wade   Drum Technician
Kariadi Sutedja   Engineer

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