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Chris Mills

Brooklyn by way of Chicago's Chris Mills has recruited quite a roster of indie musicians to help him record his southern drawl rock, including Edith Frost and members of Paul K. & the Weathermen, Red Red Meat, and Pinetop Seven. Mills has a great big weary voice that sounds like pure, unadulterated American heartbreak, and it's perfect for his rootsy, poignantly country-tinged pieces filled with crying mandolins, sighing pedal steel, wistful acoustic guitars, and tired, lazy electric guitars. Don't get the idea that Mills doesn't rock though; he lets all his Midwestern sadness and sorrow get a full head of steam until it all turns into rousing, gritty, country-rock choruses. As a teenager, Mills lived in Southern Illinois, where he became a fan of Midwestern alt-country superband Uncle Tupelo, and that group's rugged acousticism and naked honesty has clearly had a big impact on Mills's own writing. Over the course of his career (which has spanned three albums now), Mills developed beyond the Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt indie-country idiom and adopted a bigger, grander style of heartland rock often reminiscent of greats like The Band, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and Bruce Springsteen.