"Take the cornerstones of acoustic Americana, add a touch of bluegrass, country and folk, mix together with dedication, superb musicianship and then add precise harmonies. If these songs don't move you, then your soul is made of stone." - Tim Carroll, folkwords.com Gene and Gayla Mills play new roots music--modern folk tinged with bluegrass and country. In their second album, Walk on Solid Ground (2015),Gene and Gayla again appeal to the head and heart. Gene's songs tell rich stories, many based on real people from Virginia--miners, farmers, lovers, and soldiers. Their debut album, If Stones Could Talk, reached #5 on the Roots Music Folk Chart. Gene has won over 20 songwriting awards, and is an accomplished flatpicking guitarist and lead singer. Gayla's bass playing is accompanied by her tender harmonies. Married almost 30 years, Gene and Gayla have been playing as a duo since 2004. "The dynamic between the both of them is just beautiful." (Karen Atkinson, WHAN).
Sounds Like: Mandolin Orange, Gillian Welch
Their CD, "Walk on Solid Ground," reached #10 on the Folk DJ Chart. "Another Day" has won two first place songwriting awards.
Acoustic Americana duo
Gene and Gayla Mills play acoustic Americana--modern folk tinged with bluegrass and country, featuring Gene's award-winning original songs. They offer "some of the best organic music you could hope to come across."
Their new CD, If Stones Could Talk, reached #11 on the Folk DJ chart in August and #5 on the Roots Music Folk Chart in October. "Talking to a Stone," which has already won two first place songwriting awards, reached #9 on the Folk DJ Chart.
Gene's songs tell rich stories, many based on real people--miners, farmers, lovers, and soldiers. His first CD Waiting for Rain garnered nationwide airplay, and he has won over a dozen country and folk songwriting awards. Gene is also an accomplished flatpicking guitarist.
Gayla's bass playing, solid, rhythmic, and melodic, is accompanied by harmonies tender and sweet. She is also the driving force behind the recording and promotion of Gene's songs, which he first began writing and performing in the late 1970s.
On their latest cd they are joined by Bill Evans (banjo), Ivan Rosenberg (dobro), Jim Skelding (fiddle), and Barry Lawson (mandolin.)
Reviews "If Stones Could Talk"
This singer/songwriter/folk/Americana set is great...Mills has a fully formed sound in his head that he knows how to communicate in such fine style that you'll be scratching your head about why this is micro indie. Some of the best organic music you could hope to come across from all components and angles. Killer stuff.
Take the cornerstones of acoustic Americana, add a touch of bluegrass, country and folk, mix together with dedication, superb musicianship and then add precise harmonies. Do that and you forge the inspiring album 'If Stones Could Talk' by Gene and Gayla Mills. For those that love fables of experience, tragedy, love and endeavour both happy and sad plus the indefinable human essence that comes in spades with Americana, this is an album you must have.
The strength of this album lies in its perceptive individual stories. The raw emotion of songs like 'River, Railway and Road' with its mournful, almost desperate longing for reunion, the simple honesty of love recounted in 'Everyday Things' and the heart-wrenching poignancy of 'Forgetting'. If these songs don't move you then your soul is made of stone. The rich warmth in Gene's voice and Gayla's tender tones blend to pull you into these songs and ensure each message stays with you long after the last note fades.
The spritely 'Milk and Honey' is straight-up bluegrass that hankers after a simple life that got away. With its hope for the future, no matter when it arrives, the words of 'Better Late Than Never' tell a different story - with great banjo, fiddle and mandolin combinations. There's the subtle humour of 'Thriving' reflecting an easily identifiable, slightly acerbic view on life and the choices of destiny held in 'Great Divide'. Add two inspired instrumentals - the jubilation of 'Bright Blue Eyes' and the gentle closeness of 'Dying Fire' and you have a flawless serving of Americana.
Tim Carroll, folkwords.com
Review "Waiting for Rain"
A charismatic acoustic collection of beautiful, rural story songs
Gene Mills is a folk-country singer-songwriter from Virginia. He usually works in a duo format with his wife Gayla playing bass and adding harmony vocals. Both are teachers and though Gene has been performing for around thirty years, this appears to be his debut album. It is a compelling and seasoned effort, a stripped-down, 14-song set of original contemporary country-folk songs. Comparable to--but not as laid back as--Jesse Winchester, Mills' best songs, like Working Man's Hands, Fool's Gold and Country Boy come ready-equipped with the kind of melodies that are both immediate and lasting.
With only minimal accompaniment, Mills' bright and ringing acoustic guitar sets the tone for all his songs, but he is joined by wife Gayla (upright bass, harmony vocals), Steve Smith (mandolin, harmony vocals), Bill Evans (banjo), Jim Skelding (fiddle), Missy Raines (bass), and Calire Lynch (harmony vocals) on some tracks. The songs are mainly complex stories, but all very accessible as Mills explores rural and small town life in and around Virginia. The title song is all about a drought that hit central Virginia in the 1970s, the tongue-in-cheek Country Boy brought a smile to my face due to its lyrical accuracy, whilst Fool's Gold is a bouncy tune with an easy flowing rhythmic beat and laid back lyrics that compliment the vocals. Don't forget to check out Last Lullaby with its calming vibe and the sad tale of Earl Thomas Johnson. For fans of Steve Goodman, Michael Smith, or Billy Edd Wheeler, Gene Mills' WAITING FOR RAIN continues the tradition of meaningful and endearing American country-folk music. AC