Dar Williams and Shawn Mullins

A full harvest moon, a full club (with electricity!) and two talented singer-songwriters.

Shawn Mullins made his second appearance in Pittsburgh this year, opening for Dar Williams.  Shawn came on stage at 8 pm in blue jeans, white shirt with a tie, sport coat and hat.  Still out in support of “honeydew”, which was released in March, he sang a few songs from that CD, including the tragic true tale of “The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston” and the song that was heard in the TV show “Scrubs” “All in My Head”, adding his thanks to WYEP for the airplay.  Shawn remembered Rosebud across the river and said “Beautiful Wreck” was inspired by playing in such venues.  He reminded us that he was briefly in a group called The Thorns, with Pete Droge and Matthew Sweet (who he noted will be coming to Pittsburgh soon).  When Shawn talked about The Thorns CD, I clapped in recognition, not realizing I was the only one who was acknowledging the CD.  Shawn looked in my direction and said that his parents bought a copy of the CD and now he knows who bought the other copy.  Here's my copy of The Thorns CD, which I got signed by Shawn years ago (and it reminds me I should get Pete and Matthew’s signatures someday too). 

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While Shawn was in high school, he took one of those career education courses.  One day Amy Ray (now of the Indigo Girls) performed for the class, and this apparently helped to inspire Shawn.  Amy even wrote Shawn a 10-page letter to encourage him.  I love it when singer-songwriters tell stories about their songs, even ones they did not write.  Normally I’m not a fan of “covers”, but Shawn’s version of “House of the Rising Sun” (written by a female and sung from that prospective) is a natural fit.  Shawn wrapped up his 65-minute acoustic set with his Australian hit “Shimmer” and a medley :) of his hit “Lullaby”.

Shawn Mullins and Dar Williams have been friends for years, so it’s only natural that they are now touring together.

Dar Williams came with her guitar, a percussionist, and a keyboardist to tell us that Pittsburgh is one of her favorite cities.  In fact if she had six houses, one would be in Pittsburgh.  Dar is an engaging performer who seemed genuinely enthusiastic about her music.  Almost bubbling over.  Dar mentioned a couple of times she was disappointed that she could not play at WYEP that afternoon (due to the power outage) and that she sent an email to her management company to book another show in Pittsburgh along with a visit to WYEP (she mentioned maybe in January).  Dar only played a couple of tracks from her new CD “Promised Land”, including the first release the catchy “It’s Alright”.  Requests were shouted from the audience, and Dar obliged her fans a couple of times.  Her back-up group gave the songs an even fuller sound from the small stage.  Dar’s blend of “folk-pop” was mostly up-tempo during her 95-minute set, except when she sent her band off-stage so she could sing a couple of songs without accompaniment.  She also returned to the stage alone to do one song for the encore.

A full moon shined down on the South Side, as we were treated to over 2-1/2 hours of music by 2 amazing singer-songwriters.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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