Masterful! Shawn Mullins at City Winery Chicago (November 2, 2021)

“Cocaine’s free and the music’s loud, backstage at the Hollywood bowl” sings Shawn Mullins early on in his set. This is a fun ode to California, though actually it’s all just about LA specifically. He says inspiration for writing the song was Prince’s “Little Red Corvette”.

Later on he plays “Twin Rocks, Oregon”, which sounds a lot like “Lullaby”. It has the talking while gently playing the guitar leading to a big singing portion. He should do more of these style of song, it’s his signature sound.

Towards the end of the set, he plays “Beautiful Wreck”. “I’ve lost count of the times I’ve given up on you” he sings. The audience is fully engaged watching this master of songwriting and singing perform this beautiful song.

Afterwards, he stands up, as if to the leave the stage. The audience gets up for a standing ovation. He then sits down and says, “this counts as an encore.” After playing “House of the Rising Sun”, he stands up again. Is this the end of the show? He then grabs the other guitar that has been sitting on stage for the entire show and sits down again. At last he launches into 1998 hit, “Lullaby”, which has over 32 millions streams on Spotify. It’s another great song about LA. “It’s kinda like Nashville, with a tan.” “Everything’s going to be alright, Rockaby, rockabye, rockabye”. It’s a perfect end to a fantastic night of music.

Photos by Janet Mami Takayama

Quinn Delaney

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