Joy Mills – acoustic guitar, vocals, songwriter
Tom Parker – bass, vocals
Lucien LaMotte – electric guitar, pedal steel
Jack Quick – organ, piano
Mike McDermott – drums
Favorite musicians/Groups? Records?
Speaking for myself, I love songwriters like Neko Case, Doug Paisley, John Prine, Anais Mitchell. I love jazz greats like Art Tatum. The other guys like everything: from Ernest Tubb to George Harrison to Rush to Snarky Puppy to Eric Bachmann and on and on.
Joy – clarinet (first instrument)
Joy – french horn and Dobro (favorite)
What are you looking forward to the most this year for Joy Mills Band? What’s next?
Taking the show on the road and over to Europe, and our 2nd Hammerfest show down in Georgetown on June 24.
How did you start writing/playing music? Is your whole family musical?
I taught myself a bit of piano in junior high, and was playing clarinet in school. Switched to guitar in high school and started writing in college. My dad took me to many amazing concerts from a young age and that definitely seeped into my thoughts about playing music.
Describe your sound in your own words…
We play a moody kind of rootsy folk that’s dynamic and very lyric-driven. We got ballads, we got rockers. I like to say it’s set against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest.
Where do you find inspiration for writing these songs?
It can come from a lot of places, but these days it comes from a lot of time walking alone and listening to nature.
Can you describe your creative process?
Sometimes I sing over chords while I try to find hooks or musical phrases. If I get a good line or two, I usually build the song around that. On rare occasions, the song can write itself. I take it to the band and they help me shape and fix it.
What are your favorite songs to perform?
It changes depending on my mood, but I do like a good mid-tempo groove with simple but thought-provoking lyrics and a hooky chorus.
What are your musical influences?
Many different songwriters and genres. I love listening to vinyl at home, anything old. We inherited a lot of vinyl over the past few years, so there’s a lot of learning by listening. I love listening to jazz to cleanse the palate and let my imagination roam.
Name a Local artist that has influenced you and why?
There are many: Zoe Muth, Julia Massey, Reggie Garrett, Barton Carroll, Sherri Jerome, Dean Johnson, just to name a few. They all have a wonderful uniqueness in their songwriting and their distinct phrasing inspires me.
Any side projects/music collaborations happening?
A friend and I are working on a sci fi band. We’re still in the developing stages. I’m also starting up a songwriter night with another music buddy. We did it back in 2011 and are hoping to revive the series.
What kind of show do you want to give the crowd? Describe a performance that was memorable…
It’s great to have a give and take with the audience and with each other on stage, where we’re playing on some sort of edge. We played The Tractor last year with Western Centuries and the Blackberry Bushes. The crowd was great, and we were having a good set. Then I started a song in the wrong key but kept going, so the rest of the band went along with me, and I spent the whole song trying not to trainwreck while forgetting the melody and the words. The band was kind of enjoying watching me find my way through that one. Sometimes mistakes on stage lead to a more alive performance because everyone is on their toes.