MOBILE, AL (Top40 Charts/ Mark Pucci Media)
Blues singer/guitarist and Mississippi native Lisa Mills has released her new CD, Tempered in Fire, on her Mills Bluz label, distributed nationally and internationally by Burnside Distribution. Mills' stunning voice has been described by one reviewer as being "like a full-throated female Otis Redding."
Tempered in Fire was recorded and mixed in an all-analog environment at Rimshot Studios in Kent, England, and includes special guests Andy Fairweather Low on guitar (Amen Corner, Eric Clapton
Waters) and longtime musical partner Ian Jennings on bass (Big Town Playboys, Jeff Beck, Van Morrison
and Tom Jones).
Tempered in Fire is her second album collaboration with Jennings, who co-produced her 2005 CD, I'm Changing. Her solo pre-production CD, By Invitation Only (also recorded live), drew high praise from Currents Magazine: "These dynamic and inspiring performances help prove that Lisa Mills is the real deal; no studio tricks needed, no airbrushing required. By Invitation Only is a wonderful listen—soothing, bluesy, rocking, and sexy."
Recording Tempered in Fire was a celebration of creative connections reaching near and afar. She chose songs by writers from her native South as well as Britain to complement her own songs and teamed with old and new musician friends from England and the U.S. In addition to Fairweather Low and Jennings, joining Lisa in the studio—and laying down several of the songs as a live band—was New Orleans drummer Eric Heigle. She and Jennings have toured the UK for almost a decade, and she sings on three tracks of his current studio album, Roll the Dice. It was through Jennings that she met Low and many others with whom she's shared
the stage or studio, including Robert Plant, Jools Holland, and Jeff Beck, who also are guests on Jennings' album.
It's a long way from south Mississippi, where she was born, to Glastonbury, in southwestern England. But Lisa Mills has played the Glastonbury and many more European festivals enough to feel comfortable on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, the artistic connections she formed as she's gained international fans are counted as her musical next-of-kin; they just happen to be in the UK, while she now makes her home on Mobile
Bay in Alabama.
In addition to originals from Lisa and several other writers on Tempered in Fire, Mills covers two songs by another famous export from Mobile
- the popular '70s band, Wet Willie - covering both their top ten hit, "Keep On Smiling" (with a funk treatment that adds some Memphis
and Muscle Shoals sounds, complete with horns); as well as Wet Willie's follow up hit, "Countryside of Life," which she takes into the bayou with a swamp beat like a female Tony Joe White. She also gives an emotional rendering of Otis Redding's "These Arms of Mine" that's soul pleasing.
Lisa Mills grew up on gospel and soul and began composing songs before she was old enough to start school. Her daddy was dialed in to Hank Williams and her mother loved Elvis. Destined to perform, Lisa poured her heart into writing, singing and playing guitar, gathering strength like the hurricanes that brew in the Gulf of Mexico. Her vocal influences ranged from Etta James
to Brenda Lee. A friend who recognized Lisa's potential sent Sam Andrew of Big Brother
and the Holding Company a copy of Blues and Ballads, her first CD, recorded live in Pascagoula, Mississippi. It was that connection that landed Lisa her first international gig in Germany, and a three-year tour as Big Brother
and the Holding Company's lead singer. And the European connection led her to meet Jennings and then Robert Plant's sound engineer Roy Williams, who encouraged her to take her rightful place as a solo artist. Along the way she has played with Delbert McClinton, Dr. John, Junior
Wells and appears on a compilation CD, Live at the Talbot, with Albert Lee.
Touring the UK in 2010 after the release of Tempered in Fire in Europe, Lisa was featured on the cover of Blues Matters magazine (along with none other than Plant and the Rolling Stones).
Lisa Mills will support the release of Tempered in Fire with upcoming tour dates in both the UK and U.S. accompanied by Jennings. For more information on the artist, visit www.lisamills.com.