SHAWN MULLINS ON THE SONGS OF HONEYDEW:
All in My Head : The song s theme of self-examination belies the fact that it was written by Mullins and Hansen as a prospective theme song for the sitcom Scrubs. The original 2002 recording was lighter and more uptempo than this powerful new version, in which Mullins delivers an arching falsetto vocal in the chorus. When we FIRST started the recording, I was having a block, and Gerry said, Shawn, I m tellin you, that stuff's all in your head, just like that song we wrote. And I said, Man, we oughta dig that up. The next thing I knew, we were all sitting around working it up in a whole different groove.
Home : The first verse is about my dear friend Melissa Hadley, a musician in Athens and the funniest woman I ever knew, who died at 38 of ovarian cancer. The second verse came to me as I was looking at old pictures of Cabbagetown, a section of Atlanta that was once inhabited by Irish immigrant mill workers. In one photo, there s a boy sitting in front of a dimestore, looking as emaciated as a POW. I got to thinkin that it wasn t that long ago, right here in my hometown.
The Ballad of Kathryn Johnston : Literally ripped from the headlines, the song is about an aged woman living in a crime-infested Atlanta neighborhood who got a gun to protect herself. When intruders broke down her door one night, the woman started firing, not realizing her assailants were police officers, who, it turned out, had targeted the wrong house in search of drug dealers. Reading Dylan s Chronicles inspired me to look for news stories, and this one really grabbed me. So little was said about it because that s how things are in rough neighborhoods, which is what I meant by the line, everything stays the same. But it all changed for me, because I connected with her. Sometimes I don t feel safe, especially after we got cleaned out last year. But we don t have a gun in the house. Even though I ve got a little army in me [after college, Mullins was commissioned in the U.S. Army Reserve], I don t wanna live that way.
Homeless Joe : There really is a Homeless Joe here in Atlanta, along with Shorty, Blind Bob, Wolf and other strumming, homeless troubadours. They re living through their art, even though their lives are tough, without enough to eat or a place to sleep, and they re viewed as winos on the street. The song is a celebration of those people who are following their bliss, even in the most difficult of circumstances. I ve always connected with them; I see them as modern-day examples of the wanderer.
Leaving All Your Troubles Behind : This is the story of a girl who lives in a town in the North Georgia Mountains where there were once textile mills, but now the biggest industry is trailer meth, cooked up by the grandkids of moonshiners. There are a lot of people in small towns in the South that try to escape, and most of them wind up coming back. But not this girl; she s seen enough to know that s not where she belongs.
Fraction of a Man : A modern-day traveling salesman finds himself in Biloxi, and suddenly it hits him What am I doing with my life? That s a really common thing for a lot of middle-aged American men, who want to follow their bliss and really go for it, but somehow they never do. This one leaves you with a reality check, with the
alcoholism, the loneliness, and the nomadic existence. It d make a bummer of a movie.
See That Train : I love trains. My grandfather, father and brother-in-law all worked for the railroad, and I miss all the stories I used to hear. The song is about a hobo whose girl has left him asleep under a water tower and taken the train to Birmingham. I feel so unhip, because all the stuff I m interested in is