I’d been searching for a copy of Blake Mills “Don’t Tell All Our Friends About Me” ever since Matt Carr of Everybody Taste stated it “might be the best goddamn country song I’ve ever heard”. You see, Blake Mills is a rare musician these days when it comes to content, a student of quality over quantity. It’s quite amazing that he manages to be both an in-demand session/ touring guitarist (He’s played with the likes of Dawes, Band of Horses, Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams, Julian Casablancas, and Conor Oberst) and record producer (he’s produced records from Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Dawes, as well as smaller groups like Haim and Jesca Hoop) and so unique in his own songwriting, a hyper-aware conversationalist who can make poignant ballads out of the minutia of everyday life.
Here, in a session for The Wild Honey Pie , his rhythmic and emotive acoustic guitar playing stretch out across the barren ruins of a fruitful relationship. His voice, immediately identifiable with its warbled tenor bears a striking resemblance to when Bob Dylan let his guard down on albums like Nashville Skyline, emotionally resonant and heartbreakingly intimate. You know that he’s writing from the soul when the words “I know I fucked up, I know I fucked up” unfold in their repetition, both as admittance of guilt and an attempt at solace.
His only album Break Mirrors still remains a powerful debut after hundreds of plays, from the family story of “It’ll All Work Out”, the relationship of “Wintersong” which transforms from soul-aching to soul-shaking with its abrupt shift to Fleetwood Mac territory halfway through to the studio mastery of “Hirsoshima” replete with a beautiful slide solo.
Mills is a man of many talents, and if you ever have the chance to see him, don’t miss out.
Support independent record labels by downloading the Analog Edition Sampler
Find Blake Mills debut Break Mirrors here on iTunes. For the more vinyl inclined, Analog Edition also has a double A side limited release 7" featuring “Hey Lover” and “Wintersong”, you can grab that here.