Nearing 15 years as a performing musician in Indiana, Chad Mills has done the singer/songwriter thing, the band gigs, and everything in between. Last week, Mills and his band, the Upright Willies, played the side stage at the Deer Creek, before the Jason Aldean/Eric Church show that began the shed season at the Noblesville venue. This Thursday (May 19), he plays in the semi-finals of the Acoustic Live Challenge.
Seemed like a good time to catch up with the Rose-Hulman grad and construction project engineer who grabs his hat and guitar at night, and heads out to play his music. At many shows, he’s being joined by cellist Grover Parido.
ROB: Saw you played some shows with Grover, and opened for Truth and Salvage Co. too.
Chad Mills: Grover is great, isn’t he? I hired Grover to do cello work on my Make the Door album and then talked him into playing the album release, and continue to talk him into playing more with me. What he does with that instrument is incredible; it adds such a rich layer to my music.
My good friend Bob Stewart has been playing percussion with me for several years now. I met William Rood a few years back at a Kammy’s Kause (kammyskause.org) and he actually remembered me saying back then that I’d really love to have an upright bass in the band. Having recently acquired one, he contacted me with an interest in playing. I’ll be out there this summer playing as much as I can, both as a solo artist and with the band (The Upright Willies).
ROB: Any new music?
CM: As a matter of fact, I just finished the lyrics to one right before this interview. (I’m) always writing new material whenever I get the opportunity. I released my seventh album (Make the Door) last summer, and if I get my way, will begin work on the next one sometime this year.
ROB: Is it tough to get noticed in Indianapolis?
CM: It’s not easy man. I mean, I know it’s not easy no matter what city you’re in. It’s just tough to find profitable gigs around here where original music is welcome. I know there are good folks out there who are working hard to change that. One avenue for live music I’m really into right now – an exception to that rule – is the local house concert scene. I’ve been in the audience for several of these, as well as performed a few. It’s just a raw, intimate performance from the artist. just me and a guitar, telling stories to a roomful of people and then performing the songs – and they actually listen Crazy, right? Continue reading “Indiana Music: Catching up with Chad Mills”