LISA P. MILLS....
She smiles, opens her mouth, throws back her head and this powerful voice is projected with so much force it fills every inch of space from the floor to the rafters, and it continues to search for places to go. Lisa’s voice wraps around your heart and her lyrics stay in your mind for days.
As a matter of fact “You’re not the only game in Town” is rolling around in my head as I try to write a review on last night’s show. Right now, I am singing it just like she did….(well, actually I am bellowing like a sick walrus, but in my head it sounds like Lisa) This song tells the story of someone who has been dumped, or “put down” as she says it. She explains how it can feel after the dust settles and your life gets back in focus.
“You’re not the only game in town. I was yours, you put me down.”
“Now you’re coming back around, But you lost what you had found”, “You’re not the only game in town.” (That is a smart response), I love this song!
As I write about this next song, I have tears welling up and ready to drop like a waterfall. Lisa dedicated the song to me, “Sending Me Angels” . She sang these words
“I went down to the river, stood at the shore, seems like the devil’s always trying to get in my door” But he (God) keeps sending me angels, from up on high”, He keeps sending me angels to teach me to fly.” Keeps sending me angels, just like you”… (Lisa and I have a closeness…her mother’s name was Juanita and her mother’s birthday (April 12) is the same as my youngest son Eric). To me, Lisa Mills is the angel. She has a precious soul.
Without hesitation, Lisa did song after song. She did Etta James proud as she sang several songs by Etta and one she said was recorded by Etta James and by Joe Cocker. There is no way either could have sung it any better than Lisa Mills did last night. I loved “Damn your eyes”
Lisa sang so many of her originals and plenty of wonderful covers by wonderful blues singers. It was like a sensory overload at times.
At one point John Anthony, the pianist of “Wet WIllie” fame, walked into The Listening Room. Lisa beckoned him to the stage area to tell a story of one time when she called him and his 93 year old mother answered. John obliged after a little coaxing.
John’s Mother: “Hello”
Lisa: “Is John there”
John’s Mother: “Yes”
Lisa: (waiting) “May I speak to him
John’s Mother: “Yes”
Lisa: (waits) “Is he there?”
John’s Mother: “Yes”
Lisa: “Can I speak to him?”
John’s Mother: “Yes, he is in the back, you have to speak loud”
Lisa: (loudly repeats) “John, John, JOHN, JOHN, JOHNNNNNN!”
John’s mother: “You have to say it real loud, he is in the back”
(Meanwhile John’s mother had been slow to pick up the phone initially, so the answering machine had picked up and this whole conversation was recorded. Seems that his sweet 93 year old mother held the phone the whole time, never went to get him but continued to say “yes”…yes he is here, yes you can speak to him but you have to speak loud because he is in the other room. (I have a 90 year old mother, who is struggling with her lack of hearing…I could feel this story as it was being told.)
At one point, Lisa talked about our southern roots and how people who are not from Southern Alabama and Mississippi, don’t understand when we say how our humidity here is off the charts, and then there’s those cain’t seem ‘em” bugs that will drive you crazy sometimes…we are really a tropical area in disguise. Between the bugs, the humidity and the threat and sometimes the delivery of massive hurricanes we have proven to be strong people. She spoke of a time after Katrina hit the Mississippi/Alabama coast, she and a friend
drove over to Ocean Springs, Mississippi from Mobile to check on a fellow musician friend
T K Lively. It was near impossible to find people because virtually everything was destroyed and the parts that remained were all laying in the wrong places, even the streets were gone…She saw the remains of a two-story house with a huge semi-truck sitting on top of it. Sights no one ever expects to see…are seen after a storm like Camille…then Katrina. Eventually TK showed up in their view with a sling blade slung over his shoulder….I guess he cut himself out of the debris that once was Ocean Springs.
We are a resilient people. We suffer losses and devastation then crawl out and rebuild our lives…that is a way of life for us. She then sang “Way Down South”…it was fabulous!
Lisa has powerful songs that grip you and hold onto you for days. My all time favorite is “I don’t wanna be Happy, I just wanna be with you!” The first time I heard it I was hooked on it. It has become a wonderful, fun sing-a-long song as it ends with everyone the audience participating. With hands waving in the air singing “I just wanna be with you”, “I just wanna be with you”, “I just wanna be with you.” I know that feeling and it is unlike any other. Lisa nailed it on this song, of course, she knows just how to grab your heart.
I personally loved hearing Lisa last night; hugging Lisa last night and catching up on our lives since we last saw each other. It was a homecoming for me.
Google her website: lisamills.com Buy her music, go to her shows (she travels/tours extensively across the globe, so when you see her advertise a show in the USA, like this one at The Listening Room….Run Run Run to see her. When you pull up her website it defines her music as Southern Soul, Americana, Gospel and Blues…I say yes, Lisa is all of that….and a bag of chips.
I love you Lisa Mills!
Thank you Lisa P Mills for being YOU!
Thank you Jim Pennington for The Listening Room of Mobile (a beacon in the darkness)
Thank you for the happy, attentive, beautiful people who filled that room