Mills Bluz Records
Lisa Mills sang with the British R & B band “The Big Town Playboys” and at one time toured extensively, as a Janis Joplin like vocalist, with “Big Brother and The Holding Company”. Mill’s last album was 2011’s “Tempered in Fire”. Although recorded in Great Britain, Mills received praise for her Southern blue-eyed soul on Wet Willie’s “Keep On Smiling”, and for her raspy vocal on Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine”.
This 2014 recording is a re-working of an album of the same title originally released in 2005. That album contained some outstanding songwriting. The album was re-mixed by Grammy winning engineer Trina Shoemaker who has worked with Sheryl Crow and others. Two tracks were fully re-recorded and three new songs were added. This time they used recording studios in Alabama and California.
The band includes Mills, guitar and vocals; co-producer Ian Jennings, bass; Corky Hughes, lead and rhythm guitar; and T.K. Lively, drums. Guest musicians include guitarists Britt Meacham and Rick Hirsch; and drummers Jimmy Roebuck and John Milham.
The album opens with “Better Than This”, a good song with some nice guitar work from Hirsch. The title track “I’m Changing” is an introspective observation on an ongoing relationship; “You’re Still the Same” signals it might be reaching it’s end. Mills vocal timbre enables her emotional delivery. “I Need a Little Sunshine” was co-written by Mills and Jennings.
Young love is often difficult and friends and family try to wield their influence on the outcome. I imagine that’s how “I Don’t Want to Be Happy” originated. No matter how difficult the situation is “I just wanna’ be with you”. The song is beautifully executed as Mills’s delivery highlights this emotional experience. “Eyes So Blue” is an infectious tune with a ska beat. The third new song “Rain in the Summertime” features Mills solo, accompanying herself on guitar.
“Shake It” is a good song and a delight. The two re-recorded songs are the gospel influenced “Tell Me” which is delivered accapella; and “Take My Troubles”. Mills also includes two covers. “I Wish I was in Heaven Sitting Down” was written by the Rev. Robert Wilkins. Mills beautiful vocal is accompanied by Hughes, playing bottleneck style, on a Resonator guitar. Mills closes out with Jimi Hendrix’s classic “Little Wing”.
Mills’ voice is highly emotive. It will be interesting to see what she does next.