Born in Cleveland and transplanted to California, Chuck Mills first picked up the guitar as a teen and developed his skills for several years as a backup musician, before attempting to become a solo artist.
His initial solo release, Thank You, is a nice debut, featuring his slick guitar work atop an early 90s feeling groove. Sounding a good deal like his major influence, Ernie Isley (in fact, a couple of cuts on Thank You would have fit right in on Isley's 1991 solo album High Wire), Mills writes, sings, plays guitar on and co-produces everything on Thank You. The album is at its best when it is straddling the soul/smooth jazz area, such as on the strong title cut, a lovely ballad. Even better is the lilting "Whisper In My Ear," a popular cut on smooth jazz stations in Europe and a nice introduction to Mills' formidable talents. The album is less engaging on some of the uptempo cuts, which sound a bit dated and are lyrically out of place amidst the classy feel of the discs best cuts. However, there are enough good performances, including the aforementioned songs as well as "She Gave Up (On Our Love), "Give My Heart To You" and "Just Because I Love You," to make Thank You a worthwhile listen and a promising debut by this up-and-coming performer.
By Chris Rizik