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In Depth: Chad Mills

By: Brandon Cannon (brandon at indyintune dot com)
Thursday, July 11, 2013 7:00:00 PM


Chad Mills is a humble, richly lyrical folk singer, and a poet who wears his heart on his sleeve through his music. He gets way down to the nitty gritty of life and speaks in an amusingly sarcastic language from now and then too. There is the occasional quirk, sometimes raspy, and then at times, nothing but shudderingly powerful emotion. In his recent adventure from singer/songwriter to enlisting the very talented members of The Upright Willies (Bob Stewart, Grover Parido, and William Rood), Chad Mills took his time to create some of the best work of his career with with the Upright Willies on Low Down. The album bounces effortlessly between upbeat roots rock tunes and more indie-folk inspired tracks.

A songwriter of startling clarity and depth, equally skilled at turning a melody or lyrical phrase into what you didn't know you needed until you heard it... fearlessly Dylan, LaMontagne, and Choen. The Upright Willies weave their stories into an beautiful and cohesive tapestry with the skill of an artisan's carpenter, showing no seams and they're as graceful as they are unflinching.

Their performance, the way they hold themselves, and the way they dance with their arrangements while they sings, is the essence of true storytellers. More than that they guide you as you travel through their live experience, with pain, and joy, while holding your hand the entire way as if they have known you your entire life. Call it what you want but this group is a crash course in what great local music Indy has to offer these days.

I was lucky enough to get to sit down with Chad Mills awhile back and ask him a few questions about his musical journey, songwriting, and motivation to connect with people.

Why did you start songwriting?

“I started songwriting before I learned to play guitar and it started as poetry in high school/college to help me express myself better. I needed a positive way to channel my thoughts and feelings early on. I started playing guitar my junior year of college learning from some buddies of mine and it just came together for me.”

Whats your experience been like since then?

“Amazing. I honestly can’t picture my life without songwriting now that I have it. There is a gift this music has given me that can’t ever be taken away, and thats the connections I have made with others.”

What is one thing you wish you had known from the start, that you know now but didn’t know then?

“The business end has been a whole different world to actually performing. It feels like 90% business and 10% actually playing music sometimes. I wish I had a manager or mentor to help me with the business side more early on.”

Most satisfying part of your experience?

“Connecting with people and social interaction that I wouldn’t get otherwise. There is nothing like performing an original song, and seeing people sing the song with you. It’s like your playing the song right when they need to hear it the most and it creates this moment unlike anything else.”

Least satisfying part of your experience?

“Playing cover gigs where nobody seems to care or to be listening. Going from an original gig one night to a cover gig the next can be exhausting and hard on the motivation sometimes.”

What recent accomplishment are you most proud of?

“The Upright Willies forming and our album Low Down, these songs have had a huge impact on my life”

Do you have a mentor as of recent?

“My faith. Something that was missing for years and I have committed back to it for myself, my family, and our music.”

What song best describes your work ethic?

“A little bit of everything by Dawes.”

No one is wise who refuses to risk and step into the unknown. I say, “thanks”, to Chad Mills and The Upright Willies for giving us Low Down and continuing to help move our music scene forward.

Chad Mills can be found here: Web Site | Myspace | Facebook | Twitter

The Upright Willies can be found here: Facebook | Twitter

Chad has been a guest on the Indy In-Tune Podcast twice: Show #23 (10/2/2007) and Show #74 (8/9/2010)

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My Mixed Tape for July 2013
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