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Mullins plays to his roots
Atlanta-area songwriter brings songs, stories for John Jarrard benefit show
0716Mullins
Shawn Mullins plays Saturday at the Brenau Amphitheatre.

Shawn Mullins

Benefit concert for the John Jarrard Foundation

Where: Brenau Amphitheatre off Prior Street, Gainesville
When: Gates open at 6 p.m. Saturday, music starts at 7; in case of rain the concert will be held in the Brenau gym next door
How much: $20
More info: Tickets available at The John Jarrard Foundation, Green's Grocery in Gainesville or call 615-390-5118

Shawn Mullins not only creates melodies, he also weaves stories within his music.

On Saturday night, he's ready to share more of those stories for a concert benefitting the John Jarrard Foundation.

"I'm by myself, so actually I probably do 90 percent of my concerts that way, just completely a guitar and a vocal and that's it, and it's kind of a bit more like a storyteller vibe," Mullins said. "I tend to talk a little more and in between songs tell funny stories and it's more audience engaging when I do it solo because I feel like I'm in a big living room with friends."

The event is a concert to benefit the John Jarrard Foundation at the Brenau University Amphitheatre, which is located on the corner of Washington and Prior streets in Gainesville. Small coolers, chairs and blankets are welcome.

Jarrard, a native of Gainesville, spent years writing hit country songs in Nashville, Tenn. After his death, friends formed the John Jarrard Foundation to keep his passion for music alive.

This will be the second time in about four years that Mullins will play to benefit the foundation. His first performance came about after he was asked by Larry John Wilson, "the songwriter from Augusta who was a friend of John Jarrard's," Mullins said.

Mullins may be best known for his 1998 hit "Lullaby," but many know him for storytelling about his Georgia roots.

Most recently, Mullins recorded a live album, "Live at Variety Playhouse," which chronicles the last 10 years of Mullins' music.

"This was an all-star cast and Francine Reed made an appearance and Peter Stroud, who plays with Sheryl Crow, was in the band that night playing guitar," Mullins said about the recording at the Atlanta venue. "It's kind of a show that we do every year at the Variety Playhouse around Thanksgiving, and it was a great one to film because it was really the kind of top level of what I do with a full band. ... There is solo material on it too ... (and) I did some of the older ones, the first couple songs I wrote."

There is a short set of solo songs on the album, along with songs done with the band.

"The really fun thing is, it captures the Variety Playhouse, too, which is one of my favorite places to play," he said.

Local musicians Wilder Embry, April Cummings and Jimmy T. Harris will open Saturday's show.

"It's going to be like a writers in the round, where each person does a song and I think we'll have time for five songs (each)," said Embry, a Gainesville native.

Embry said he'll play songs from his most recent album, "Squander," but he also has some new music planned.

"The rest of it is going to be from the record I'm going to record in Nashville next week," he said. "I've got some serious players and a serious producer and it's exciting."

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