My Contributions to Shawn Mullins’ New Album – Light You Up

As many of you may know I’ve been writing songs with a guy named Shawn Mullins over the past year or so. I first met Shawn in Nashville where my manager had set it up for us to meet and to try our luck at co-writing some new songs. I remember it all very well..

I flew in to Nashville from Burbank California on March 10th, 2009. There my friend Michael Hearne picked me up at the Airport in Nashville and drove me to “Chuck Cannons Studio” where Shawn had explained we could stay for a few nights and “Take turns sleeping on the couch.” When Shawn had said we’d be staying at his friends Studio/Apartment I was kinda thinking we’d be staying in a studio apartment not a recording studio with an apartment upstairs. Chucks place was much nicer than I had envisioned it. Vintage Gibson guitars sat in most every guitar stand while a finely painted replica of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” graced the high ceiling in one of the lager rooms. The place was awesome and Shawn was about the coolest songwriter I’d ever met. I was liking Nashville already.

We hung out for about two or three days at Chucks place and wrote two songs. The first one we wrote was called “Babylon Blues” which was recently recorded by Michael Hearne for his new release entitled “Life In America”. The next song we wrote was kind of a funky smooth song called “Love Will Find A Way”. I had a lot of fun and learned a lot in those few days working with Shawn and couldn’t wait to do it again.

Nearly a year later I traveled out to Shawn’s hometown of Atlanta GA to write more songs with him. I had this thing I had been working on that turned into a song called “Tinseltown”. We didn’t quite finish the song that time around so Shawn and I opened it up to some different songwriters later on. I worked on it some with a guy named Jeff Trott in Los Angeles and Shawn worked on it some with a guy named Chuck Jones in Key West. It’s a cool rocker that portrays a guy in Hollywood that no longer wants to get caught up in the midst of “Tinseltown”.

The last and final song we wrote is one that is dear to me for a few reasons. One reason is because we wrote it using various chords and progression styles that I really had studied in the past. And two, they let me play the acoustic guitar part on the recording that would become “I Knew A Girl”. It’s a beautiful acoustic arrangement that takes a hand from an equally beautiful string quartet.

Now the real reason I’m writing these stories down is because Shawn is releasing three of these four songs on his upcoming record titled “Light You Up”. Its the first time any artist will have released some of my work on a level like this. The record will be released in stores and online Tuesday, October 12th by Vanguard Records. The three songs that made the cut are Tinseltown, I Knew a Girl. and Love Will Find a Way. Babylon Blues will see the light someday.

I feel very blessed to be within the same company as the others who worked on this project. So many talented musicians and songwriters worked on this record and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Thanks Shawn for having me on board.

-Max