Michael Clay Mills

Michael Clay Mills

 Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Eclectic genre-busting songwriting, a psychedelic mixture of rock, folk, alt. country and afro-beat - - inducing a wild journey of emotion and mystery from the high deserts of Northern New Mexico.


Michael Clay Mills is a musician/songwriter/producer from Santa Fe, New Mexico and has just recently launched a solo career of recordings made over the past four years at Crow Mesa Studios, his personal endeavor on top of a house in Santa Fe overlooking the Jemez and Sangre de Christo Mountains that tower over the high deserts. He has been a well known and popular solo performer in the Southwest for many years - - earning the nickname "Saloon Warrior" for his ability to reach into a song catalogue of over 200 tunes and entertain any crowd anywhere. His reputation for professional and dynamic live performances is coupled with an intuitive ability to write and record an eclectic range of songs, a unique blend of songwriting that takes the listener on a strange and unpredictable journey. It is music that blurs the lines between our everyday world and worlds unseen, slowly lifting a veil from a mystery long forgotten in the modern human mind and left to the academic realm of mythology and legend. "Children of Avalon" offers brief sketches of this mystery, weaving ancient themes of romance and desire seamlessly into the infinite world of dreams and spirit - - then back again, unleashing sixty minutes of songs exploring the modern human condition that betrays contradictions of the heart.
Released independently, "Children of Avalon" stands out as a fresh departure from the world of Americana/folk and Alt. Country releases currently saturating the indy market these days and unintentionally defies any attempt to place it in a specific genre. Sometimes richly produced and other times hauntingly sparse, this album is a showcase of Mills' writing talent, guitar virtuosity, vocal chops and production abilities.

"After many years of knowing, playing, co-habitating and 'recreating' with Michael Clay Mills, (also known as Skinnicus Straticus), I can heartily recommend anything this unique and ancient soul produces. He is tuned into a frequency that is off the dial for the common man, knowingly nodding his head to the rhythms and pulses which reverberate somewhere beyond Antares and the Big Dipper. It can be all too easy to scoff at the magic man, and the prophet is never believed in his own home town, but this is a hard-core cat who walks the walk of a true desert dwelling mystic, and if you glimpse an unfamiliar and slightly disturbing scene when listening to his music, chances are he's hung his hat on a toadstool dwelling somewhere just south of nowhere, and brought you back a mental postcard from beyond the regular. I dig it all, and I'm glad that I have him as a scout to peek behind the curtains I am too shy to tug at." Doug Osburn, professional musician and songwriter, bass on "Letter to Bianca".


Prophets' Song

Written By: Michael Clay Mills

You ride out of town on a broken down pony
You got called everything, everything and a phony
Cause you held your head high, no dishonor did scar you
Just small petty minds, afraid of the hard truth
And what it would find

You bought all the lies, all the kisses, sweet candy
Now defiant and proud, you drink your last brandy
Then sleep in the rain

You brush off the cat calls n your own silent way
You suffered their hatred with little to say
You never were good at the flinging of mud
Or when the walls all around you were covered in blood
Unsheathing the sword was never your game
You just stood there defiant, no use for it all
Just a game

The road straight ahead embraces your suffering
As the miles pass along, it heals your dark bleeding
All that remains is your pride and the honor
Of taking a chance, the courage to wonder
Into the unknown

You brought home the booty, all scarred up and broken
But they just robbed you blind and left you with tokens
You spoke then the words of wisdom and reason
They just stood there more angry, and charged you with treason
Just someone to blame

Sign of the Sun

Written By: Michael Clay Mills

I was born in Kansas City
In St. Marys' on the hill
The doctors didn't slap me
I came screamin' for a thrill
I was born in the sign of the sun

The nurses, they all held me
Very close to their chests
That's when I started rockin'
And a rollin' with the best
Cuz I was born in the sign of the sun

Got fire in my eyes
Got voodoo down below
You want a piece of me
You just got to let me know
I was born in the sign of the sun

Got Satan by the tale
I got evil on the run
The Good Lord he don't bother me
He just lets me have my fun
I was born in the sign of the sun

The wives don't tell their husbands
And the boyfriends, they don't know
My mojo will be workin'
Till I'm six feet below
I was born in the sign of the sun

I was born in Kansas City
Twelfth and Vine born and bred
Those crazy little women
Playin' with me in their beds
I was born in the sign of the sun


Written By: Michael Clay Mills

I read your horoscope everyday
Just trying to understand the mystery at play
I try to read your mind but I already know
That you love me and it's starting to show

Chorus 1:
The chattering hens cluck and say it ain't right
But I'm just a boy who's a moth to your light
Love sneezes at such quaint and precious things
Like wedding rings
Such sweet careful vows
Are useless now I see

Verse 2:
I read the papers and it's all in the news
Somebody's heartbroke, now they got the blues
Been there and done that maybe five hundred times
Now I'm just out to get
What I know is mine

Chorus 2:
You may seem to think I'm cruel and unkind
A house wrecking fool who's lost his own mind
But love doesn't care about small and simple things
When church bells ring
Such sweet careful vows
Are useless now I see

Verse 3:
I've been so helpless, so owned for so long
So tired of lectures 'bout how it's all wrong
So he bores you, and he just never cares
What's so wrong with me just being there?

Chorus 3:
A good friend he asked me, "What's your end game here?
You're playing with fire, with gasoline near."
But love just ignores such loud and dangerous things
Such wreckage brings
I'm helpless in how I just blink at the vow you made

House of Blue Stone

Written By: Michael Clay Mills

The color of green, a wavelength unseen
Though God knows I try, got color blind eyes
It's a mystery to me, the things I can't see
That everyone knows, the bright color glows

She came dressed in green, trouble unseen
But I'm trouble, too, so we lit up the room
Watching the show, everybody we know
Some secrets we keep, in our dreams so we sleep

I dream I'm alone in the house of blue stone
The strange sounds refrain in the wind and the rain
Like something's watching me there, and then aware
Of the girl through the glass, she speaks "May I pass?"

She walks on blue stone, blood, flesh and bone
She speaks with strange words, that once I had heard
In the the echo of halls, in the memories that fall
Dayglow and drifting, they float on a messenger wind

Verse 2:

Desire reaches out, knows what you're about
So I read from the stars, I watch in the bars
She won't dance at all, but then she will call
Says "It's strange how you break the things you can't take."

Then I'm launched through the night, the colors so bright
Strange how I'm blind, in the morning I find
I just can't recall some colors at all
My head thick with lust, in the wild deserts' dust

Chorus 2:
So I wake all alone to the sound of my phone
And the wild scent remains from the strange worlds' rain
It's like I'm here and I'm there, and then I'm aware
It's the girl through the glass, calling at last

She just wants to know if I'll be at the show
I croak a reply, "Don't know, but I'll try."
She says, "That's ok, just lonely today.
My partner won't dance
To my dream colored trance, take your place".

She turns and I spin, she laughs and I grin
She gives and I take, she heals when I break
She drinks and I swim, she stops I begin
She drives and I ride, she asks I confide

She cries, I confess, she asks I undress
She calls, I reply, she's low , I'll be high
She sins, I forgive, she dies I can't live
It's a secret we keep in our dreams as we sleep

I speak, she replies, I breathe she gets high
I lust and she screams, I love and she dreams
I cry, she brings rain, I stop, she refrains
I'm cured she is healed, I touch and she feels

I fly and she soars, I yell and and she roars
I win and she cries, I lose and she lies
I throw she receives, I steal she deceives
It's a secret we share with the whole world aware

Letter to Bianca

Written By: Michael Clay Mills

I saw you walk the streets alone
It was late, so far from home
The city lights made you glow
But sadness kissed you soft and slow

Chorus 1
It kills me how a girl so pretty
Can get so lost in this beautiful city
You're so much more, party girl

We talked a while, I don't know why
You turned and looked me in the eye
And asked if there was hope for you
Stunned, I spoke these words so true

Chorus 2
How a girl so sharp and pretty
Can get so down on her self, it's a pity
You're so much more, party girl

How you feel, you only know
It touched me when you let it show
I guess you went on your way
Do you still hear the words I say?

Chorus 3
How a girl so blessed with beauty
Can seem so lost in the glow of the city
Knock on my door, party girl


"The Children of Avalon", 2011

"Time Riders" airplay on Lahiradio 100.3 FM, Helsinki, Finland.

"Horoscope" airplay on Forest FM 92.3 FM, Dorset, United Kingdom

Set List

Three 45 minute sets of all original tunes (with a rare suprise cover sometimes).