With her country charm and honest lyrics Taylor Mills proves a refreshing change from pop tarts such as Britney Spears. There is little to no attempt to seduce with disingenuous sexual posturing here. Rather, Mills’ voice grasps at substance and her self-presentation aims for respectability. Correlatively, her credentials are impeccable: in addition to making a name for herself as a back-up singer in Chicago, Mills has distinguished herself as a back-up singer for Brian Wilson, the former Beach Boy whose SMiLE project went on to win a Grammy award in 2004. Yet her solo debut has seemed to have fallen on deaf ears; Lullagoodbye has not received much attention since its release in May. Whether this is due to the fact that her label is rather new, or that her work itself offers very little in the way of innovation or interest, is a matter of debate. Certainly, Mills’ vocals are solid: she hits all of her notes and exercises considerable restraint over her voice—just when you think it might escape control she reigns it back in, thereby showcasing her considerable vocal talent. But that’s just the problem. Mills’ voice sounds too disciplined, the result being that she creates an impassable distance between herself and her listeners. One can admire but never inhabit Mills’ voice as she uses it to convey her own emotional truths. Despite her success at occupying the intersection at which folk, rock and country meet, Mills’ debut fails to deliver. What one is left with by the end of the CD is the fleeting memory of songs that fell flat before they ever had a chance to soar.
// Notes from the Road
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