, Salem, MA


February 21, 2013

'Lullaby' singer to perform in Marblehead

MARBLEHEAD — Stephen King is a big Shawn Mullins fan.

Mullins, the singer and songwriter best known for his 1998 Grammy-nominated, No. 1 hit “Lullaby,” had no idea the author of “Carrie” and “The Shining” even knew who he was until he read it in a magazine.

“I bought a magazine in the airport,” said Mullins, who will appear at Me&Thee Coffeehouse tomorrow. “Right there in Newsweek magazine, it said ‘Stephen King’s top 10 desert island songs,’ and in there is ‘Beautiful Wreck,’ the live version.”

That song, which originally appeared on the album “9th Ward Pickin’ Parlor” in 2006, reached No. 1 on the Americana and adult album alternative charts that year, before being released in a live version in 2008.

In the magazine piece, King even offered an interpretation of the lyrics.

“He tells his take on what that song’s about, which is that it’s someone who’s living with a hopeless alcoholic,” Mullins said.

It should come as no surprise that a best-selling novelist like King — who sometimes plays in a band with other authors — would be drawn to Mullins’ music, which has always had a strong narrative element.

“Lullaby,” for example, is a portrait of a young woman lost to despair, who “grew up with/The children of the stars/In the Hollywood Hills,” but has “seen her share of devils/In this angel town.”

The girl comes to the singer’s shows “in this bar on Fairfax” with a group of friends, but always appears anxious and withdrawn, prompting him to sing her a lullaby in the chorus: “Everything’s going to be all right/Rockabye.”

“It’s a true story,” Mullins said. “But, of course, you always end up in your own stuff, as a writer.”

In other words, “Lullaby” is also about Mullins and his struggles to establish himself as a performer.

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