Renowned guitarist, songwriter and producer Blake Mills will release his highly anticipated second album, Heigh Ho, on September 16 via Verve Records/Record Collection. The self-produced album is available for pre-order at iTunes now.
“The goals on my first album were experimentation and discovery,” Mills said. “The goals for Heigh Ho were sonics and capturing performance. I love how my first album sounds but I’ve heard a number of records released in the last four years that seem to sonically focus on making things lo-fi and reverb-drenched so I felt compelled to create a combination of sounds I’d never heard before for this material. I also wanted to have more input from other musicians instead of doing everything myself.”
Recorded in Los Angeles at the legendary Ocean Way studios in a room built for Frank Sinatra & used by everyone from Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones, Mills created an album that references a range of genres without really belonging to any.
To that end, Mills asked several of his musical heroes – Jim Keltner, Tony Berg, Don Was, Jon Brion, Benmont Tench, Rob Moose, Gabe Kahane, Mike Elizondo, Griffin Goldsmith and Fiona Apple (who duets on the slow-burning Seven and timeless sounding Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me) – to collaborate on what would become Heigh Ho. “Blake arranged the music the way that Cézanne would’ve filled a canvas,” Don Was notes of his experience playing in Blake’s band. “He’s a mind-blowingly great artist with the type of deep vision that is the hallmark of true genius. It’s so inspiring for musicians to play with a cat like that. If he asked us to play in orange, we wanted to give him a shade that burned so brightly as to blind the unsuspecting.”
“One of the reasons I think these sessions worked out so well is because many of these musicians are also world class record producers,” said Mills. “Their performances on this record revealed the spirit of this album. It reflects the spontaneity, maturity and tastefulness of my all-time favorite records.”
Since quietly releasing his debut album, Break Mirrors, which critics hailed as one of the best albums of 2010, Mills has been consistently busy. He’s producing the highly anticipated sophomore album for The Alabama Shakes and has produced music for ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, Sara Watkins, Conor Oberst, Sky Ferreira, Haim and Fiona Apple, with whom he toured extensively in 2013 and 2014. He’s played with Beck, Cass McCombs, Jackson Brown, Lucinda Williams, Moses Sumney and Band of Horses. Rick Rubin & Don Was frequently call upon his services as a guitarist and equally enamored is Eric Clapton who recently told Rolling Stone magazine, “Blake Mills is the last guitarist I heard that I thought was phenomenal.”
Additionally, Blake Mills announced a 13 city headlining U.S. tour to take place this fall. The run of dates will kick off on September 17 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. All fans who purchase a ticket to any of the upcoming headlining dates will receive a complimentary download of Heigh Ho on release day.