Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lisa Mills -- "Tempered In Fire"

Lisa Mills has a winner here. "Tempered in Fire" is a cooker. My first clue about Mills' voice is that she was the singer in Big Brother & the Holding Company for three years. She has been making music for a long time--her previous album, 2005's "I'm Changing" was also produced by Ian Jennings. The partnership is strong--Mills and Jennings make beautiful music together. This time, Mills & company channel classic R & B from Memphis Tennessee--especially the Stax studio sound. Mills sings and plays guitar, backed by Andy Fairweather Low on guitar, Ian Jennings, co-producer and double bass, and Eric Heigle on drums and backing vocals. They are assisted by Nick Payne on baritone and alto sax (on "Keep On Smiling") and Matt Winch on trumpet (on "Keep on Smiling") and flugelhorn (on "My Happy Song"). These are ten strong songs--there are no weak links here. The first song hooked me for the whole cd--"Tennessee Tears" is a keeper. It should be on every radio station everywhere. Then Mills does something I never thought I'd hear--she covers the Jimmy Hall/Wet Willie classic "Keep on Smiling." A contender for my favorite song here. But Mills also covers Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine" in a vocal/guitar duet with Andy Fairweather Low and they do it great! Mills sings two of her own songs, "Why Do I Still Love You" and "My Happy Song," and three songs by the fine songwriter George Borowski, "Blue Guitars of Texas," "I'll Never Fall in Love Again," and "Someone Very Close."

Robert Plant is quoted in the press sheet saying, "You should check her out; she has a wonderful voice." Good enough for me.

This is a great disc. You can buy this disc at http://lisamills.com/

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