The Starlings

The Starlings

BandAmericanaFolk

The Starlings explore an Americana sound known for organic harmonies and compelling lyrics. Their 2009 release of EP "Gravity" gives a sneak-peek to their upcoming 2010 release. “...a band buoyed by shimmering vocalist Joy Mills.” - Seattle P.I. "Call it lilt with an edge." - Leicester Bangs (UK)

Biography

"It's rootsy music with a simple beauty. It's a Seattle band with a small-town aura...Mills' timeless, gorgeous voice is the driving force behind the Starlings' twangy serenity. Her husband, singer-guitarist Tom Parker, is no slouch, either. When the two harmonize as a banjo gets plucked in the background, it's a truly wonderful blend." - Idaho Statesman

“Seattle’s Starlings second album is that 'ava raris,' a work that has the musical development so beloved of critics and reviewers, while retaining the sound and style of their debut to keep fans who know what they like happy...it is truly marvelous music.” – Americana UK

“Wow...one of the most talented and engaging groups in the Northwest...they display a maturity and facility whereby the songwriting, the musicianship, and the arrangements strike deep at the emotional and musicial subconscious.”
– Victory Review

After their 6-month national tour in 2008, The Starlings returned to Seattle in 2009 and recorded an EP, "Gravity," featuring 7 songs, 3 of which will appear on their 2010 full-length release. They've captured the ears of fans both in the Northwest and beyond. The 2008 release of their sophomore album, “Marveling the While” spent 17 weeks on the Roots Music Report Chart, and debuted at #8 on the Euro-Americana chart. "MTW" followed their successful 2006 release of debut album "Songbook." They've received accolades from notable sources as Maverick Magazine and Americana UK; spent eight weeks on John Richards' (KEXP) "Top Ten Northwest Bands"; and shared prominent performances with the likes of Todd Snider, The Avett Brothers, Eilen Jewell, The Wood Brothers, Shannon McNally, Hoots & Hellmouth and numerous regional artists.

After much touring and performing, they've come
to be known for their wonder-spun refrains and harmonies. Their approach is contemporary and inventive, inspired by the
classics of country, folk and roots music. Guitar, banjo, harmonica, mandolin and drums take us through elemental themes that create The Starlings' solid repertoire. From a pin-dropping ballad to a foot-stomping barnburner, their images linger – empty boxcars,twilight on the prairie, divining rods, river beds, and the long drive home.

"Marveling the While" (2008) features the soulful and sparkly vocals that fans recognize, and features guests appearances from Mike Grigoni (Willy Mason, Peter Rowan, Chris Stuart and Backcountry), Lauryn Shapter, and Chad Hinman (producer). With a title inspired by the literary works of John Steinbeck, “Marveling the While” explores themes of time and duality, opening with the powerful track, “Love and War”, the bitter sweetness of life in “Silver Thread,” a tribute to a gypsy mother in “Geraldine,” and the spooky, panoramic montage of “Honey Creek.” The Starlings raise the bar in this production, reaching a new pinnacle with their use of metaphor, harmonies, and dynamics.

"Songbook" covers a wide terrain of folk and Americana landscapes including the homage paid to elders in the opening track, "Hand to Mouth," and the wanderer's story in "Alaskan Fire."

Joy Mills hails from the hinterlands of Iowa, where an urge to write slow-burned its way, and finally surfaced, in her college years. Upon moving to Seattle in 1999, she began performing live, joined forces with partner Tom Parker, and produced her first solo LP, Rabblerouser. Mills and Parker have been steadily gaining attention around Seattle for their compelling harmonies and songwriting, which eventually led them to realize their next step up Mt. Fuji - bringing their work to a band format. Mills' songwriting infuses a lyrical and lucid quality that digs deep and harvests a more elusive meaning - all the while showcasing the hooks and refrains that keep fans singing along. Mills also pursues her other passion of writing fiction, pulling inspirations for both forms from a variety of musical genres and a polite handful of her influences: Greg Brown, Patty Griffin, Neko Case, old-time dirges, Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, the Short Story, and the irresistible act of Observation.

Tom Parker is the One Who Can when it comes to blending and arranging harmonies, and blowing on that harp. Reared in the Pacific Northwest by various chorus backgrounds, he moved around musically among folk, classical, jazz and grunge incarnations. With chameleon-like perception, his voice and harmonica playing add the richness and texture any musician could hope for in their cache. His songwriting is crafted from a diverse background with songs that unearth both the hard and soft edges of life. Tom brings to the group over fifteen years of versatility, style, and heart, and can also be seen in the country trio The Pennylifters.

Aimee Zoe Tubbs is a drummer, musician and teacher. In search of good music, strong coffee and clean air, her personal journey has taken her from Iowa City to Seattle, via Boston. An accomplished percussionist, singer and pianist, she

Lyrics

Hand to Mouth

Written By: Joy Mills

Tell me a story about when you hit the road
Tell me a story what it’s like to grow so old
Well I know you’ve been hanging around hand to mouth

Would’ve liked to have seen you in your highest summer
Would’ve liked to have known you when life was younger
‘Cuz I know, it must be hard just hanging around hand to mouth

Doubt myself, I don’t doubt you
Imagine all the things that life put you through
I may doubt myself, I’ll never doubt you
Oh la la la la, when will we be through
With wishing it all away

Wouldn’t it be nice to grow a pair of wings
Wouldn’t it be so nice to hear the choir sing
‘Cuz I know things can be so heavy here on the ground

But in your eyes I see that undying ember
Of all the places, all the times you remember
And I know they will always be your own mystery

Doubt myself, I don’t doubt you
Imagine all the things that life put you through
I may doubt myself, I’ll never doubt you
Oh la la la la, when will we be through
With wishing it all away

Tell me a story about when you hit the road
Tell me a story what it’s like to grow so old
‘Cuz I know you’ve been hanging around hand to mouth
And I know, it must be hard just hanging around hand to mouth

Bluebird

Written By: Joy Mills

You’ve got to allow for the rain,
That’s as sad as a bluebird
That old lover’s refrain
Watch your little bridges burn
And her heart was undone
Like a tattered old sneaker
What’s a girl to do with a heart so blue

We live in this town, it’s too small for pride
It’s too small for a decent place to hide
That’s how the story goes, or better yet, how the story went

When the flames got too high
I stepped back in the shadows
But I still watched it burn
I still watched the ashes fly
And my thoughts they did rust
In twisted old pieces
What’s a girl to do with a heart so blue

We live in this town it’s too small for pride
It’s too small for a decent place to hide
That’s how the story goes, or for shame, how the story went
That's how the story goes, or for shame, how the story went

Discography

"Gravity" (EP) released in August 2009, with a Winter Tour through the West planned for December.

"Marveling the While" released March 18, 2008, followed by a 6-month national tour, with appearances across the country, an extended residency on the east coast from June-August, performances at notable venues such as Club Passim in Boston, and an appearance at the Joshua Tree Roots Music Festival in October. Spent 17 weeks on Roots Music Report Charts, extensive airplay nationwide; debuted at #8 on the Euro-Americana charts, airplay in England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Australia. Selected as a Notable Northwest release by KBCS's Americana Music Director, Christine Linde. Also selected for the track "Bluebird" on the Best of 2008 by the radio show The Miller Tells Her Tale out of the UK.

"Songbook" released March 2006; receiving airplay in Seattle, Massachusetts, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho, California and Oregon. Also receiving airplay in Europe (The Netherlands, UK, Belgium, Ireland).

Set List

Up to 3 hours of mostly originals and a few covers of folks like Greg Brown, Patty Griffin, John Prine, and old traditionals like Long Black Veil,
Pal o Mine and I'll Fly Away.