Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Joy Mills - Echolocator

“How many slams in an old screen door? Depends how loud you shut it. How many slices in a bread? Depends how thin you cut it. How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live ’em. How much love inside a friend? Depends how much you give ’em.”
– Shel Silverstein

The story of the Joy Mills band is a story of friendships. The kind of friendships that only people who have been through a pile of shit together understand, built painstakingly through years of backyard barbecues, van tours, gazebo park gigs, stoned fights … and losses - of friends, wives, lives, and dogs.  Heartaches and hurts, trials and triumphs.  No amount of screaming “fuck you” across the yard could end these friendships.  Atomic friendships.
It’s also the story of drinking way too much whiskey.  I mean legendary amounts of whiskey. And other things.
But.  The whole time, there was music.  You know how it seems like all your friends do the same things you do?  Well. Amongst our friends every fucking body plays the guitar apparently, and has a song to break your heart with, or make you spit up your bootleg laughing.  Joy Mills is the center of this circle.
The first electron, orbiting the proton that is Joy, is Earl Thomas Parker.  He’s a rock. I’ve seen him play guitar, harmonica, banjo, mandolin, piano, drums, dobro, shaker, pan flute, pool, and of course in this incarnation of the band he’s on bass.  But, the most important thing about Tom, is that when he sings harmony, you sound better. He can blend with anyone, and even when he could just sing it better himself, he’ll find your vibe and build it stronger.  Tom and Joy met at an open mic series in Wallingford in 2000 and after after a date-ish show at the Wit’s End in Fremont, they pretty much stuck together. Ionically. 

They made 3 records as The Starlings.  They’ve released 4 as the Joy Mills Band.  The current covalent orbiters are the magnetic-if-aloof Mike McDermott on drums, galvanic feel-monster Jack Quick on keys, and the quantum capacitor that is Lucien LaMotte on pedal steel and lead guitar.  The sound is clean and modern, vocals front and center. An eclectic set of influences keeps things interesting - singer songwriters like Jenny Lewis or Sharon Van Etten, twangy southern rock, classics like Supertramp and The Police. The rhythm section is no-frills straight ahead, and the atmosphere and vibe comes from the versatile lead guitar and the satisfyingly playful keyboards.

Everyone drinks less whiskey now.  Time has a way of balancing the spirits to music ratio.  The music endures. As Joy sings in “My Favorite Stone” - “You can count on me.  You can count on my Rock n Roll.” Never has a truer word been spoken.
Joy Mill’s latest album “Echolocator” is available here -

Julian Martlew 
November, 2019

Monday, April 13, 2020


Sun is shining.  The weather is sweet.  Make you wanna move.  Your dancing feet.

Except do it 6 feet apart please.

This is a place holder, perhaps a new beginning.  Words must be used or they lose meaning.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Pat Graney @ OTB

Girl Gods.  These dancers really are.