Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Shawn Mullins has enjoyed success as both a solo artist and member of the modern-day supergroup The Thorns. Currently, Mullins is touring in support of Honeydew, his latest release on Vanguard Records. On Friday, May 23, Mullins will appear at the Verizon Wireless Music Center as the supporting act for Sheryl Crow. Recently, Mullins took time to speak with the Weekly about his new album and the current state of the music industry.
BW: Shawn, it's great to hear from you. How is this leg of the tour going so far?
SM: I've had a little time at home in Atlanta, which has been wonderful. I don't know if I've ever had so much time off. We went to Amelia Island for a few days and we've just been hanging loose. Now we're back on the road.
BW: We're really enjoying the new album, Honeydew. Did the body of material come to you in a burst of creativity or had the songs been laying around in various phases of completion?
SM: My mom had been struggling with breast cancer for almost a decade and she was nearing the end of her fight. At first, it was hard for me to create anything because that was on my mind first and foremost. Once my mom passed away and I had time to get it together again, a lot of these songs poured out. I've always heard that grief can do that, but I'd never really experienced it before then. But a few of the songs had been laying around for a couple of years. "All In My Head" and "Homeless Joe" are both older songs.
BW: It must have been cathartic to deal with that grief in a creative manner instead of keeping it inside.
SM: That's exactly what this record is. Even the title of the album is a tribute to her - honeydew was my mom's favorite fruit and we grew up eating it all the time.
BW: Your band with Matthew Sweet and Pete Droge - The Thorns - released an album in 2003. How did that project come to life? Is there any chance that the group will release another album in the future?
SM: My manager, Russell Carter, also manages Matthew Sweet. He and Greg Latterman - the guy that started Aware Records - got to talking one night about getting me and Matthew together. I think Greg pulled in Pete - they wanted to see if we would write songs well together. That's how it started - we got together to write songs. When we demoed the songs, everyone flipped out and loved the way it sounded. We ended up doing a one-record deal for Columbia. Even though it sold a couple of hundred thousand copies, it didn't sell like Columbia had wanted. I think we will do another record - I think it might happen one day. I love hanging out with Matthew. He's like a big kid and he's fun to be around.
BW: How do you feel about the climate of the music industry in the age of iTunes, Internet and satellite radio?
SM: Honestly, it depends on the mood I'm in (laughs). Some days, I'm feeling really hopeful about being in a pioneer age in music. Other days, when I'm feeling like it's an uphill struggle, I feel like it's harder than ever to sell records. But overall, you've got to take what we've been given and go with it the best you can.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $26.00-$58.50 and can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.com.