Mullin’ it over
Keith Mullins describes himself as ‘another moany fecker with a guitar’, but don’t let that put you off. In a singer/songwriter world filled with intense navel gazing, thankfully Keith Mullins doesn’t take himself too seriously – and he keeps the moaning to a bare minimum. On his debut album ‘The Great Atlantic’, which is due to be released this Friday, February 19, Mullins delivers ten beautifully crafted, simple, honest songs.
Mullins, who grew up in Corofin, Co Galway, is largely influenced by American music including artists such as Townes Van Zandt, Ryan Adams and Gillian Welch. Other influences include Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, She & Him, the wonderful Wilco and Irish influences such as Fionn Reagan and The Frames.
However, his first musical influence was his father, who played piano and accordion in a country and western band. Mr Mullins would invite a more-than-willing four-year-old Keith onstage to sing the Seamus Moore song ‘Yellow JCB’.
Mullins went on to learn the banjo in national school and grew up with a genuine love and appreciation for all kinds of music. He started his first band, Pier Nineteen, in college. Though thoroughly enjoying recording the album At Evensong in 2006, the band members soon began to work on solo projects, prompting Mullins to begin recording his own album.
The record contains many references to the sea – the title itself ‘The Great Atlantic’ and the second single, ‘Across The Ocean’. However, Mullins explains that the images conjured up by the Big Blue are more to do with the vast distances he knows that he will travel on his personal and musical journey rather than a yearning for a seafaring life.
The album was recorded in Larry’s Log Cabin in Tuam, with a slew of friends in tow, each contributing to the record in their own unique ways. And in true rock‘n’roll fashion, Mullins decided to keep a record of the wild debauchery that took place during the recording process.
The pinnacle of this week-long orgy of excess was Mullins’s diva-esque demands that a tally of cups of tea imbibed was to be logged by each person involved in the recording. Tea may not sound like the wildest of whistle wetters, but when the volume of cups consumed peaked at a rather wild 572, most participants lost the will to live. Needless to say, the mystique of a cup of cha has been forever lost for Mullins and all references to the humble brew have been removed from the album.
Many of the tracks on ‘The Great Atlantic’ were written in the six months preceding the recording. Mullins explains the short gestation period thus: “I like to record all my ideas and melodies and lyrics on my phone and dictaphone, so that when I get into the studio I am putting the songs down in full for the first time.
“It’s a process that feels more natural and honest for me. I don’t like to rework and rework. I feel like I lose something important in that process.”
Keith Mullins is playing a free gig in The Gaf Cafe, Galway, at 3pm this Saturday, February 20, and he’s on stage again that night in Canavan’s, Tuam (admission €10). You can also catch him the next night, Sunday, February 21, in The Crane, Galway (admission €10).
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