Personnel includes: Shawn Mullins (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, electric piano, tambourine); Elton John (vocals, piano); Shelby Lynne (vocals); Michael Ward (acoustic guitar); David Patterson (electric guitar, strings); Dave Patterson (guitar); Mary Rifkin (dobro); David Immergluck (mandolin); Dennis Farias (trumpet); Nick Lane (trombone); Brandon Bush (piano, Wurtlitzer piano, Clavinet, drums, loops); Bennett Salvay (harpischord, organ); Kim Bullard (keyboards, programming); Dave Labruyere, John Pierce (bass); Kevin Leahy, Davey Faraggher, Travis Aaron McNabb (drums); Curt Bisquera (shaker, tambourine); Luis Conte (percussion); Shelley Yankus, Jen Graham, Don McCollister (background vocals).
Producers: Shawn Mullins, Peter Collins, Julian Raymond, Anthony J. Resta, Mitch Maketansky.
Compilation producer: Jeff Magid.
Recorded between 1992 & 2000. Includes liner notes by Holly Crenshaw.
With the unexpected hit "Lullaby" throwing Shawn Mullins into the limelight after almost ten years of performing and recording as an independent artist, Columbia picked up Mullins' fourth full-length, Soul's Core, and released its follow-up, Beneath the Velvet Sun. This collection culls half of its tracks from those two releases, three tracks from Columbia's 1999 compilation The First Ten Years, two unreleased songs (a solo acoustic version of "Joy Terrell Brown" and a live take of "Lonesome, I Know You Too Well"), and two additional tracks previously unreleased in the United States (a duet with Elton John called "Border Song" and an acoustic runthrough of "Lullaby"). This collection serves as a decent introduction for the curious (although it covers nothing from the 1996 effort Eggshells) and the unreleased songs make it a nice addition for collectors, but one can't help but think that The Essential Shawn Mullins serves as the death rattle to his far-reaching contributions to popular music. ~ Gregory McIntosh