As the summer solstice arrived I sat down to review Lullagoodbye by Taylor Mills and I couldn’t ask for a better or more appropriate day to listen to the woman who gave the Beach Boys sound of Brian Wilson the female harmony it always needed.
Lullagoodbye features 11 tracks sung by Taylor Mills, with additional background vocals by Brian Wilson, Tommy Shaw, and Scott Bennett. Scott can also be heard playing guitar, bass, piano, and organ. Did I leave anything out? And on drums: Todd Sucherman (currently drumming for Styx).
Mentioning the lineup above is important when considering this album, because it is obviously a labor of love.
Todd Sucherman and Scott Bennett also produced Lullagoodbye and for good reason. Todd is Taylor’s husband and Scott is a close friend from Brian Wilson’s band. Scott Bennett also wrote many of the tracks you’ll hear when you pick this CD up. This sort of family environment no doubt creates a comfortable experience in the recording studio and allowed Taylor to do exactly what she wanted. You add some backgrounds from Brian Wilson and Tommy Shaw and you really have something special.
Brian appears on two tracks, “Cradle Me” and “Raven.” “Cradle Me” is good, but “Raven” carries a more sultry vibe that really showcases the richness of Taylor’s voice. In the background you have Brian Wilson, Scott Bennett, and Taylor herself double-tracked to create a haunting melody that makes “Raven” the standout A+ track on Lullagoodbye. Brian once said, “Taylor Mills sings like an angel.” Well, the proof is right here and Brian got to back her up doing her angelic thing.
The album begins with “Center of the Heart,” metaphorically, a good place to begin. This song immediately shows that Taylor could chart, not only with the adult contemporary list, but with the country crowd as well. It would be interesting to hear this track with a country beat.
I don’t know if “Hello Sun” is too long for today’s radio play (5:10), but it would sound awfully nice coming in over the airwaves … Her range is strong; not forced. Taylor’s voice soars up and out at you with a purity that comes across with total ease. I assume she must have been born with that gift, because I don’t think it can be taught.
“Genie in a Bottle” is where you get your Tommy Shaw of Styx fix, backing Taylor on vocals. It’s fun stuff, but Taylor’s vocals grab you before you ever hear Tommy. It’s the richness of that voice. Taylor Mills is like chocolate cake with chocolate icing. If you like chocolate, it’s all good. Once Shaw kicks in it’s bonus time.
With “Consolation Prize” you get to hear Taylor rock out a bit. I think she really needs to explore this area of her voice and take it even further for a future project. I think there’s a wildcat in there somewhere.
It’s a good package from a good blonde. You can own Lullagoodbye by purchasing a copy from Taylor's website listed below. Go check it out.