171. Revival – David Mullen

REVIVAL (1989)

David Mullen

In the summer of 1988, the year I was married and would also move to Maryland to begin working for the Benson Company I attended the Christian Artists event known as Estes Park in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Somehow I ended up meeting and hanging out with a new artists who was in the midst of recording his debut project. He would perform during the week and I became an instant fan.

Less than a year later David Mullen’s debut, “Revival” hit the stores and went beyond anything i had imagined from meeting and spending time with him. That amazing, razor edged and strained voice, the pounding rock and blues were only outdone by some amazing songwriting. Mullen would record only three albums but would win a shelf full of songwriting awards for his wife, Nicole C Mullen (aka Nicole on two Frontline released projects), as well as a who’s who list of CCM artists.

When Nicole was an artist on Frontline David came with her to a Frontline sales conference and we played a game of softball. I played shortstop and robbed him of a sure double by stabbing a smoking line drive (that’s just a reminder to David in case he ever reads this).

The title track rocks in a real Mellncamp, Americana fashion. His voice gravels through and killer hook in the chorus. “Sho’ Love You” keeps the same theme of true American rock with a phenomenal backing band. “Heaven’s to Betsy” takes the popular phrase and twists the meaning and turned it into a radio hit.

The real centerpiece of the album is “Backstreet.” The Springsteenesque song builds from a quiet, nearly whispering introduction into a huge chorus that drives the point home both musically and lyrically. This is Mullen’s best vocal performance on this or any of his albums. the emotional ferocity that builds is the stuff spine tingling is made from. It is not just the voice but the attitude with which the voice derives. Empathetic and prophetic simultaneously where the words both exhort and condemn, mainly because they are to be believed.

Later albums would no longer feature the same rock and passion, but for fans of Rick Elias, Carson Cole, John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen this album was a sheer delight.

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  1. Shawn McLaughlin
    February 10, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Faded Blue was a real disappointment to me after this one. The sparrow album was a change in direction but a return to solid songwriting. My memory is faulty, but didn’t Revival feature a duo called “One Blood” which was Kevin Twit and Scott McCleod?

  2. Bill B
    February 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    I have all of David’s albums. Revival is his best.

  3. Brian
    February 22, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Agreed – REvival is his best
    Heven’s To Betsy & Somebody Say Amen are the best two tracks IMO

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