Review: Lisa Mills & Ian Jennings – ‘Goin’ Up The Country’ at The Buck House Hotel, Bangor-on-Dee: Saturday, 19th July

Posted on: Monday, Jul 21, 2014

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The intimate setting of the restaurant at The Buck House Hotel, Bangor-on-Dee, was the scene of a fantastic return to ‘Goin’ Up The Country’ for Mississippi-born; Mobile, Alabama-based songbird Lisa Mills, here in the company of one of Britain’s finest bass players, the much in-demand Ian Jennings . . . and the sell-out crowd were treated to marvellous sets, centred on the amazing voice of Lisa Mills . . . female Southern soul at its very best, and more . . . both gritty and gentle when required.

The duo have performed together for a number of years and have a chemistry that lends itself both to the songs as well as some more ‘off the wall’ moments that were great fun too, as Lisa kept Ian on his toes, with the occasional . . . “and now I’m gonna do a song that Ian doesn’t know!” . . . needless to say they were still carried off with aplomb by his top stand-up bass playing, which has been honed by years on the road with several of our top r&b bands, and latterly with The Mud Morganfield Band.

Songs from the most recent CD release, “Tempered In Fire”, were prominent in both sets . . . ranging from the quite lovely “Tennessee Tears”; the joyous Wet Willie cover, “Keep On Smiling”; and possibly one of the highlights of the night, a rocking “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again”, which was ‘taken down’ in the middle to include Solomon Burke’s huge hit “Cry To Me”, before heading back to the song, after some jousting between Lisa’s stunning voice and Ian’s majestic bass playing.

A new song, penned with friend George Borowski, was performed, the fine “You’re Not The Only Game In Town”, and another classic was covered in the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic, “Bad Moon Rising”. However for me the two absolute treats of a brilliant night were the timeless “Son Of A Preacher Man”, and Lisa Mills performing Gershwin’s “Summertime” a capella . . . absolutely spellbinding, and you could hear a pin drop in the packed room!

Despite the duo having a very early start the next morning for a long drive up to Edinburgh, they were coaxed back for a well-deserved encore, that showed Lisa Mills is no slouch on the guitar either, as they delivered a really nice version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing”. In my humble opinion this lovely lady’s voice is up there with the very best and let us hope it is not too long before a return!

GRAHAME RHODES

www.lisamills.com

(Pictures courtesy of Ian Williams – www.ianwilliamsphotography.co.uk)

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