Blake Mills’ new album Jelly Road  Due July 14, new song, "Skeleton Key," out now
(credit: Kyle Thomas)

Blake Mills’ new album Jelly Road  Due July 14, new song, “Skeleton Key,” out now

June 1, 2023—Grammy-winning producer, composer, guitarist and songwriter Blake Mills’ new album Jelly Road, co-written with Chris Weisman, is set for release July 14 on New Deal / Verve; pre-save/pre-order here. The first track “Skeleton Is Walking” is out now, listen/watch the lyric video here

Mills learned of Weisman through a friend while making the critically acclaimed album Notes With Attachments with bassist Pino Palladino. A reclusive songwriter, jazz musician and conceptual artist, Weisman has released over 35 albums in just 10 years. Mills reached out and the two quickly began collaborating on material via email, starting with songs for Amazon Prime’s acclaimed limited series Daisy Jones and the Six, for which Mills worked as the Executive Music Director and chief songwriter, writing and producing all the original songs from the show and its accompanying record Aurora, while working closely with the singer and guitarist Weisman as well as with other lauded musicians.

Together, the pair wrote the entirety of Jelly Road which was recorded and co-mixed by engineer and frequent Mills collaborator Joseph Lorge (Bob Dylan, Phoebe Bridgers).

Mills and Weisman will embark on a run of dates around Mills’ performance with Joni Mitchell at Washington’s The Gorge Amphitheater. The Blake Mills Featuring Chris Weisman Tour will kick off in June in select cities on the West Coast, where they will play music from Jelly Road as well as select songs from throughout their varied careers. See below for the full tour routing.

Grammy Award winner and two-time Grammy Award Producer of the Year nominee, Blake Mills (b. 1986) has released four acclaimed solo albums and produced, played and recorded with artists such as Fiona Apple, Alabama Shakes, Phoebe Bridgers, Perfume Genius, Moses Sumney, Bob Dylan, Laura Marling, Cass McCombs, Weyes Blood and Randy Newman, among others. His album Mutable Set, releasedin in 2020, was praised by Pitchfork as “a hushed collection that floats through the subconscious like a tender dream” and earned their Best New Music title. Most recently, Mills worked as the Executive Music Producer and chief songwriter on Amazon Prime’s limited series Daisy Jones and the Six.

Chris Weisman (b. 1975) is a songwriter living in Brattleboro, Vermont. His dozens of homespun, self-released solo albums are a kaleidoscope of vaulting melodies, wild poetry, overload harmony, melting bridges and jazz solos. He is the author of Nonmusical Patterns and their Musical Uses (for Guitar in Standard Tuning), the inventor of Inverted Tuning, and an active member of Intangible Shirt Company: an extemporizing crush of New England Transcendentalist hippie types.

It is the spring of 2019, and Chris Weisman’s landline is ringing in Brattleboro, Vermont. On the other end, in Los Angeles, Blake Mills is assembling a venturesome dream team of songwriters for a television series he’s been tapped to create the music for. The two of them are, at this point, complete strangers. Chris is decades deep into an ossified obscurity-it can feel like (blessing or curse) a kind of invisibility. But Blake sees him. The planet turns, becomes crazier.
It is the spring of 2022, and Weisman is at the Steinway. He and Blake are composing his overlay voicings together, a layer of icing, for the bridge to THERE IS NO NOW” that they just wrote from scratch–lyrics, melody, chords, Blake at his Goya, Chris pacing the perimeter of this illustrious room, Studio A of SOUND CITY STUDIOS in Van Nuys, California, veritably vibrating with history you could cut with a knife. Chris plays a big, sweet Ab Major 9 on the downbeat, and the whole room sings. Where an F minor turns Major, Blake suggests the 3rd should resolve an octave lower instead of traveling up a half-step, eschewing the obvious voice leading for an octave displacement. These are the leaps. It is heavenly-voiced down, the A natural seems to glow gently orange.
Blake is in his customary crouch over pedals, at the foot of the console with his baritone fretless sustainer guitar. Infinitely tall Joseph Lorge, with his signature blue work shirt and big, green eyes, is in the chair beside him, turned toward the screen. They work telepathically, quickly, seemingly flawlessly. It doesn’t matter how important the moment is–to a song, a record, a career–there is no pressure of import, no ritual. This is the guitar solo on SKELETON IS WALKING.” All the tension built up in Blake’s one-note, incantatory vocal is finally breaking, exploding from his guitar like enormous, time-lapse flowers unfolding themselves.
The album opens under pointillistic stars, cosmic wheeling forms, an abyss of perplexity. On the title track, Chris’s horn calls out over a pleasure of drums and slashing classical guitars. There are no constellations, no narratives to navigate on JELLY ROAD.” We let ourselves dream, and we let ourselves beam. We open outside of time, we end by refusing to.
Speak to me in breadcrumbs
Speak to me in code
Tell me it again
About the Jelly Road
—Blake Mills & Chris Weisman

LIST

BLAKE MILLS—JELLY ROAD

1. Suchlike Horses
2. Highway Bright
3. Jelly Road
4. Skeleton Is Walking
5. Unsingable
6. Wendy Melvoin
7. The Light Is Long
8. Breakthrough Moon
9. There Is No Now
10. Press My Luck
11. A Fez
12. Without An Ending

BLAKE MILLS FEATURING CHRIS WEISMAN

June 13—Tractor Tavern—Seattle, WA
June 14—The Old Church—Portland, OR
June 16—August Hall—San Francisco, CA
June 17—Little Saint—Healdsburg, CA
June 20—Pappy and Harriet’s—Pioneertown, CA
June 22—The Pico Union Project—Los Angeles, CA
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