Eclectic Recording from a Favorite Singer/Songwriter
David B. Thompson | Carson City, Nevada USA | 02/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've been a Shawn Mullins fan since I picked up a copy of Soul's Core several years ago. On the strength of that recording, I also bought Beneath the Velvet Sun, which also has some excellent songs. I then proceeded to buy his back-catalog to complete my collection.
It was with much anticipation that I followed the creation of 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor. I will say I'm pleased with the result. While I have my favorite songs on the new release (Beautiful Wreck, Homemade Wine, Find Love, and the cover of Rising Sun), the remainder of the collection is still very good.
Be forewarned, however, that this is an eclectic recording. If you are expecting all of the songs to be similar, you will be disappointed. If, however, you appreciate Mullins' ability to do different kinds of music, you will enjoy the recording.
I enjoy this record and the variety of sounds and styles Mullins presents. In fact, this is another one of those recordings that took a little time to grow on me. But, as I listen to it repeatedly, it's holding its own against the remainder of my collection.
My bottom line: It's eclectic with some great tunes punctuated with some tunes that are different than normal Mullins' fare."
One of my new all-time favorites
Joy | 02/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this CD! I can't believe that I almost didn't buy it because of some of the reviews here. I guess it's not for everyone. People have their own tastes. However, if you love the range of Mullins' voice and acoustic guitar, I think you'll really like this album. I especially like Alaska and Faith. It feels like an eclectic mix of stuff with some Celtic and maybe a bit of gospel influence. I think its variety is one of its strengths, contrary to what some others have said. Sample it and then buy it if you like good acoustic and music with heart and soul."
Better than the other reviewers are saying it is...
Eric | Chicago, IL | 02/16/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is my plea to the many potential customers like myself who use these reviews as a partial basis for the decision whether to buy a disc or not - Don't rely too heavily on the reviews here! This is a great disc, and while it might not be revolutionary, it is certainly better than the earlier reviewers here stated. Shawn Mullins has said that this disc was his repudiation of the over-produced, big-label sound that so heavily influenced his last two discs (yes, including the much loved "Soul's Core"), and I am here to tell you that he has absolutely succeeded in that endeavor. 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor has a sound that is at once tradionally archaic and refreshingly 'real'. There is no trace of electronically produced drum beats or computer-corrected instrumentation here - I think that too many people have come to expect the perfection and amazing sounds that can be created in today's Pro-Tools world to appreciate an album like this any more. While I would agree that, when taken as a whole, this particular set of tunes isn't perhaps as strong as those that can be found on some of Shawn's earlier works, I would caution those of you who allow that comment alone to form the basis for your decision not to buy this CD. Almost all of these songs are quite strong, and the disc takes on an almost meloncholy tone of a man who is nearing middle age and is coming to terms with the reality of the world around him. Gone is the youthful optimism of songs like 'Ruth and Mary' - in it's place are songs that comment on the fractured nature of the world around us. Give this CD a chance... I can almost guarantee that you will find it to be a better disc than much of what else is being produced by the majors these days! Highly recommended!! A note on the four stars - A disc must be truly revolutionary to get five from me... four is a great review from me!"
The Man Comes Around
Rob M. | Islip, NY | 02/17/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a superb album from the highly-underrated singer-songwriter Mullins. "Parlor" is the proper follow-up to "Soul's Core" and presents his finest bunch of songs to date. Mullins has always been something of an anomaly on the modern music scene, and he embraces his most idiosyncratic tendencies here to wonderful effect, resulting in an eclectic, luscious album. His melodic ear has never been sharper, as is evident on "Faith," "We Could Go And Start Again," and especially on the gorgeous "Find Love." Mullins' biggest strength has always been his knack for writing tunes with a particular humanist shine and a dash of whimsy; the semi-acoustic production knits well with his songwriting sensibility, no small feat after his two previous efforts (his previous solo album and his recording stint as a member of the folk supergroup The Thorns), which struggled to find a good sonic counterpoint with the songwriting. Mullins, who also produced the album, is operating at the height of his powers and I recommend this under-the-radar gem highly."