After his previous band Simon Dawes disbanded, and two members went on to form Dawes, Blake Mills began touring as a guitarist for Jenny Lewis, Band of Horses, Lucinda Williams, Cass McCombs, and Julian Casablancas while collaborating as a session musician with artists such as Conor Oberst, The Avett Brothers, Weezer, Danger Mouse, Lana Del Rey, and Haim. Now, Mills is getting ready to release his newest solo album, Heigh Ho.
Mills succinctly summarizes the purpose of his newest album in two lines during the Fiona Apple collaboration “Don’t Tell Our Friends about Me”: “all your enemies and friends, they all tend to judge/while I write songs that help me deal with issues.” Unobscured by contrived metaphors or long-winded poetry, his straightforward lyricism helps establish a bittersweet atmosphere by recounting all of the abandonment, heartbreak, remembrance, regret, hope, and acceptance that informed Mills‘ songwriting; as if the music were a fireside heart-to-heart. Mills‘ nostalgic pining for happier times is also felt in the folk-rock revivalist vibe that colors the record. Heigh Ho is constructed from ideas with clear and obvious origins, but executed in a uniquely sincere way thanks to the help of his incredible team of producers and collaborators. Celebrated studio musician Jon Brion (Kanye West, of Montreal, Best Coast), no stranger to Mills‘ peculiar flavors of pathos and neo-Americana, provides keys and additional strings on “Just out of View,” and “Don’t Tell Our Friends about Me.” The latter track premiered on Pitchfork leading up to the album’s release. Other collaborators include Don Was (Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, Bob Dylan), drummer Jim Keitner (Elvis Costello, Neil Young, John Cale), and highly sought-after contemporary composer Rob Moose (member of Bon Iver and arranger for The National, St. Vincent, Interpol, The Decemberists). Despite the grandiosity of its personnel, Heigh Ho maintains a spacious, acoustic feeling that reinforces rather than overshadows its creator’s poignant experiences. Blake Mills‘ latest effort perfectly confronts the ‘goodbyeness’ inherent to the human experience and channels it into a gloriously affective piece of art.
“Though Eric Clapton recently called Blake Mills a ‘phenomenal’ guitarist, Mills’ new song ‘If I’m Unworthy’ says more about his songwriting chops his than six-string prowess.”
– Wall Street Journal
FCC Warning: #3 “Just Out of View,” #5 “Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me”
Recommended Tracks: Track #1 “If I’m Unworthy,” #4 “Seven”, #6 “Gold Coast Sinkin’ “
RIYL: Fiona Apple, Dawes, Avett Brothers, Jenny Lewis, Wilco
Going For Adds 9/22 & 9/23
Label: Verve / Record Collection