When covering an artist’s work, I usually place them into two categories, albums I like and albums I love. Lisa Mill’s new album, I’m Changing is an album I love.
Lisa has an album with multiple genres. Produced by Lisa Mills and Ian Jennings, with Trina Shoemaker as engineer, I’m Changing will make you want to laugh and cry. It will touch the essence of your soul. But for this Alabama native, Lisa has an amazing voice, as I’m Changing will rock your world. Think of having Janis Joplin, Lucinda Williams, Bonnie Raitt, and Emmylou Harris wrapped into one artist. While Lisa writes most of her own material, she is no stranger covering other artist’s work. While on tour with Big Brother & the Holding Company, Lisa captured Janis as she revealed her own voice simultaneously. Lisa’s virtuosic voice makes her unique. While eclectic with many artists, Lisa’s form and range is as no one else’s. Lisa’s bluesy voice turns I’m Changing from a blues album you might think of buying into an album you will buy.
As Lisa Communicates the music to listeners, she opens with the sultry blues piece, “Better than This.” The intro with the guitar represents the song as it sets the mood. “Better than this,” demands closure. It provides sum, substance and redemption as she saves herself from the toxic relationship. “I’ve had enough of your lying, don’t waste my time trying to deny it.” “I deserve better, better than this, I don’t need you anymore.” “So baby just walk on out the door.” Many will love this number’s lyrics. But in the second tract, Lisa contradicts herself with “I Don’t Want to Be Happy.” She sings, “I don’t want to be happy, I just want to be with you.” “One more day of emptiness when your cup is so full.” “One more night of lonely, lying next to you.” Lisa’s lyrics encapsulate reality as many know what we want oppose to what we need. Her sweltering voice gives both pieces sentiment and reaction.
Lisa continues her song’s association with “I Need a Little Sunshine.” I like the guitars contributing loneliness to the number. But with “I’m Changing,” that won my attention. This is her best piece. The arrangement is sublime. I love the fiddle in this piece. It adds ambience to the number. For reasons I cannot explain, this track reminds me of a Bob Dylan number. It’s a somber number as Lisa shouts a quiet cry. Her voice projects uncertainty as the lyrics tell us, “I’m changing, you’ll still the same.”
Briefly, I have to mention “Eyes So Blue” as a free spirit piece with a Reggae flavor. “Shake it” is a distinct piece that reminds me of a “road map” for living. “Shake it” leans toward a jazz genre. It’s a catchy tune with a cool rhyme scheme. “Shake it,” “Fake it,” “Make it,” and “Face it,” with a Ray Charles flair.
Lisa’s album takes a turn in a different direction with two spiritual/gospel numbers, “Tell Me,” and “I Wish I was in Heaven Sitting Down.” “Tell Me” is a piece that has Janis Joplin “tones” to it. “I Wish I was in Heaven Sitting Down,” a number written by Rev. Robert Wilkins, is a delta blues tune with a well-done slide guitar.
For the album finale, Lisa came up with something cool covering Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing.” She does a superb job with the song. Even though “Little Wing” is a Jimi Hendrix favorite, Lisa’s soulful voice is a perfect fit. Hendrix would approve.
Lisa Mills considers herself a “blue eyed soul singer, with American Southern roots.” I mentioned that Lisa is many artists wrapped into one. However of the artists I’ve heard from her approach, there is one artist that remains constant and establishes Lisa’s common dominator in her music. Hearing other artists throughout the album, I heard Lisa’s way more than anyone. She has her own style and does it well as she makes Lisa Mills as Lisa Mills. There is no one else. Someday there will be an up and coming artist using Lisa’s style as a foundation in their musical career. I’m Changing with the players who put this album together is an outstanding project with Lisa leading the way. She is astounding.
I’m JR Miller and this is Lisa Mills singing, I’m Changing.