New Soul/Blues: Lisa Mills — ‘The Triangle’

Lisa Mills — The Triangle

Label: Melody Place Music

Lisa Mills‘ new release, The Triangle, kicks off with a song previously recorded by Little Richard, “Greenwood, Mississippi.” It’s a combustion of desire and love, darting back and forth between declaration and plea, propelled by searing guitars and one of the tightest horn sections around. The sound is remarkable, and it is matched by the soulful Southern singer, Lisa Mills. Her electric voice is a zipper that never commits as to whether it is going up or down. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter; after all, the passion in her vocals makes it clear — she’ll be the one to decide.

The Triangle was recorded at the ‘triangle’ of legendary studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee. What a treat to hear these recordings born in their home settings. Because of the care taken by producer Fred Mollin, the overwhelming feel for the material seeps from every note. More than just a matter of respect, Mills’ treatment of these songs is to affirm their continuing relevance. She takes a classic like “I’d Rather Go Blind” and burrows underneath it for awhile, dwelling there on her own emotional terms so that the lyric (and its given musical notes) are a truly firsthand experience. It’s a risky and generous act to deliver such familiar material with such a potent personal touch.

I have a soft spot for the album’s last track, the plaintive “Just Walking in the Rain.” The rarely recorded song, originally released in 1953 by one of my favorited Sun Records acts, The Prisonaires, while incarcerated in the Tennessee State Penitentiary, it’s a perfect opportunity to showcase the dual fragility and strength of Lisa Mills’ vocal abilities. The entire album offers similar rediscovery of some of the greatest Southern soul and blues songs ever recorded.

The track list for The Triangle includes:

  1. Greenwood, Mississippi
  2. Tell Mama
  3. Slip Away 
  4. I’d Rather Go Blind
  5. That’s What Love Will Make You Do
  6. I’m In Love
  7. Same Time Same Place
  8. A Place Nobody Can Find
  9. That’s How Strong My Love Is 
  10. Someone Else Is Stepping In
  11. I’ll Always Love You
  12. Traveling On
  13. Members Only
  14. Just Walking In The Rain

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