Brian Mullen has achieved a stature in country music most new artists can only dream of. To begin with, he’s earning a living with his music. This year, he’ll perform at least 150 paid shows. He’s also recording an album with Grammy-nominated producer Greg Cole. Add to this the fact that Mullen already has a major corporate sponsor—Iron Horse Jeans— and you have an extremely promising and well-positioned young artist about whom you’ll certainly be hearing much more. A native of Sheridan, Arkansas, Mullen traces his determination to be a performer back to an Eagles concert his grandparents took him to when he was 14. “That really did a lot for me,” he recalls. “I decided right then and there that this was what I wanted to do. My grandpa introduced me to George Strait’s music, too, which has been a huge influence, and to Waylon and Willie. Through my parents, I found the Eagles, Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac.” It wasn’t long after that fateful Eagles concert that Mullen discovered he had real crowd appeal. He and his family were at a campground on Lake Ouachita. “I was sitting by the campfire playing the guitar my grandpa had bought me a year earlier,” he says, “and all these people started coming over to listen and to encourage me to pursue my music.” Mullen did just that. At 16, he was fronting his own band at talent shows, VFW halls and county fairs around Little Rock. “Then,” he says, “I started venturing out into Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana and Mississippi. I also began making exploratory trips to Austin, even though I was still too young to play in the bars there. By the time I was 18, I was going full- force with my band back home. We were playing every weekend and often during the week.” When representatives from Iron Horse Jeans heard Mullen sing, the company began booking him regularly to entertain at horsemanship events it sponsors throughout the West. Mullen is currently working with Greg Cole, the producer of such high-profile acts as Daryle Singletary and Jeff and Sherri Easter, whose recent album, Expecting Good Things, was nominated for a Grammy. Mullen’s own self-titled EP will be released late this summer.