"Strong stories and great arrangements - she sings from the soul"
MIKE HARDING

KEY ALBUMS :

"Tall Tales and Home Truths"

Out Now! -

"Tall Tales and Home Truths"

10 brand new songs by Becky Mills (plus a bonus reprise of an old favourite!)

Written between 2015-2018 the songs bring to life some of the extraordinary true-life stories researched from Becky's family history, going back across many generations . . . 

Half-remembered fragments, bedtime stories, family sorrows, joys, myths and community tales are all transformed through Becky’s imagination into tantalizing narratives with a rare musical depth.

 

Cut through with the superstitions, folklores and mysteries of the North Yorkshire Moors Becky calls home, “Tall Tales and Home Truths” is rooted in a strong and magical sense of place, where the wild moors suddenly meet the sea and the promise of a potentially different life beyond . . .

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About "Tall Tales" . . . 

"After Dandelion, I wanted to reconnect

with the folk story-telling tradition and get

back to a much rawer and more natural

sound. Each song had to ‘stand up and be

counted’ with just me and a guitar for company. Then, slowly and carefully, I added in fantastic contributions from the best musicians I could find. These virtuoso players got into the subtlety of the whole project and together we started to find a special feeling”.

“Sometimes the tales came to me fully formed and complete, whereas for others it was a case of dimly lit bedtime stories, fragments from my childhood, or events heard in passing which somehow lodged in my imagination. All these I built on with a bit of research and the occasional drop of artistic license!”

On Recording : "We deliberately turned off the 'click track' in the studio. So the tempo ebbs and flows with a much more natural feel. I've discovered I need to sing & play live, together, and do it all in one go in order to get the best performance. Sometimes you don't end up with the most 'perfect' recordings - sometimes I’m extremely imperfect - but they really come to life . . . The other musicians were beyond amazing in somehow fitting in to all this. I am so proud of this record. I hope you will love it too"

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Track Listing and synopsis :

(1) My Brother’s A Farmer

"My brother is indeed a pheasant farmer in North Yorkshire. He is single. One day in March, I asked him what plans he had made for the summer and my heart broke as his face fell. "The summer isn't mine" he said. How is a pheasant farmer supposed to find love, I wonder?"

Also featuring :

Concertina : Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

Violin : Ruth Angell

Cello : Jonny Short

(2) The Lady of Ballantyne

"My Scottish Granny Eve Mills (nee Ballantyne) was a wonderful story-teller. Some stories you'd hear over and over, embellished each time. Others, she would make up on the spot and you never heard again. This was a 'one-off' she told me one night when I was very small in her big bed. It was about a girl who came from a cold land of black stone and travelled by sea to marry a much older man who she hadn’t even met before. It was her fate to become a Ballantyne."

 

Also featuring :

Electric Guitar : Blair Dunlop

Pump Harmonium : Ruth Angell

Drums & Percussion : Marc Layton-Bennett

(3) Crocuses

"Recently we lost a very dear family member. For a while there was no stone to mark her spot. It was late January, so dreary and dark. So in the autumn I planted hundreds of crocuses on her grave. Now each year, around the time that we lost her, we can find her again."

 

Also featuring :

Cello : Jonny Short

Wine Glasses : Gavin Stewart

(4) The Gunsmith's Daughters

"My Grandad was a self-taught gunsmith. He would shoot anything that moved, which caused great frustration to his

three animal-loving daughters. After a long illness and convalescence, his attitude to the world was transformed, and he never shot a living thing again."

* POSTSCRIPT : after I'd written the song and sung it a few times round the house, my son suddenly said “that’s a song about my Great Grandad isn’t it?” I was really pleased and asked him how he knew, and he replied “because uncle Gav showed me the insides of one of his guns and it said “Mike Webster, Lock stock and Barrel” which is the repeating line of every verse. How spooky".

 

Also featuring :

Electric Guitar : Blair Dunlop

Percussion : Marc Layton-Bennett

Chorus : Ashley Hutchings,

Ruth Angell, Gavin

Stewart, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

(5) No Tears for my Fisherman

Live performance with Ruth Angell, recorded at St. John’s Church, Newton-upon-Rawcliffe

"A widow in her mid-thirties was left comfortably well off with a cosy cottage and land near Robin Hoods Bay. When she met and married a much younger fisherman from Saltburn, she rather fancied she'd be saving him from a lifetime of danger and toil on the waves. However, she had another thing coming. The sea called to him and he answered."

Also featuring :

Violin and Backing Vocals : Ruth Angell

(6) Last Look at Home

Live performance with Ruth Angell, recorded at St. John’s Church, Newton-upon-Rawcliffe

"Sometimes optimism is survival when the only certainty is the rising sun. This is a song about moving on to safety with the only thing that matters to you in the world."

 

Also featuring :

Violin and Backing Vocals : Ruth Angell

(7) City in My Lungs

"My Great Gran lived and worked in her family's grocery store in Wallsend until she married a handsome sailor. So she left her dirty old town to move in with her new family (the Websters) in Thornton Le Dale, North Yorkshire. She was horribly homesick for the noisy docks and the smoky air, and her quiet and moody husband was no comfort. She found it hard to make friends because no one could understand a thing she said in her strong accent. So she wrote home again and again, begging for them to let her back. At least, she did in the beginning . . . . . "

 

Also featuring :

Concertina : Cohen Braithwaite-

Kilcoyne

Violin : Ruth Angell

Acoustic Bass : Jonny Short

Drum : Marc Layton-Bennett

(8) William

"My Great Grandmother Mary Webster had a magnificent head of bone-white hair. It turned white overnight after she learnt, in 1941, that her son Wiliam Webster had been lost at sea after his boat (SS Kirkpool) was torpedoed. There were 14 survivors, and he was not amongst them. She was expected to grieve and get on with her life but, despite an official letter, she somehow knew he was still in the world. People thought she was mad with grief - but she held on to the feeling that, had he left this world, she would surely know it. Three years and eight months later, at Christmas 1945, William knocked at the front door and was home."

Featuring :

Guitar and Vocals : Becky Mills

(9) The Wheeldale Crossing

"It was unusual for an unwed couple to live together in the late Georgian era. But on the Moors around me, they had their own rules and their own ways. Rather forward thinking really, until something bad happens and inevitably, you get accused of being a witch.

 

The Wheeldale Crossing is one of my very favourite spooky places. You can see it on the home page of this website!" 

 

Also featuring :

Electric Guitar : Blair Dunlop

Melodeon: Cohen

Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

Acoustic Bass : Jonny Short

(10) Row Like Grace

"My childhood holidays were spent camping in Scotland or Northumberland. There was a small museum dedicated to Grace Darling who rowed bravely out to sea on a terrible stormy night to rescue sailors from a ship that had wrecked. She became my heroine and I even got a rowing boat for my 13th birthday. I’ve never rowed out to sea, but I would row like Grace for my husband if he needed me!"

 

Also featuring :

Pump Harmonium : Ruth Angell

Percussion : Marc Layton-Bennett

(11) BONUS TRACK (CD version only) : Barry Sheene

"When my brother had a 75cc motorbike,  friends would kick the tyres and ask if it ran on Babycham? Then they'd tell him that Barry Sheene could race him on his Mum's hair dryer - and still win . . . 

Barry Sheene , star of the Ollies Mount racing circuit in Scarborough. What a guy, he deserves a song."

 

Also featuring :

Blair Dunlop, Jonny Short,

Ruth Angell, Cohen

Braithwaite-Kilcoyne,

and Marc Layton-Bennett

"Tall Tales and Home Truths is a collection of warm humanity and emotional truth, written and sung by an exceptional storyteller"
**** RnR Magazine (Oz Hardwick)
"A sublime mix of traditional and modern folk, combining superb musicianship, a voice that will give you shivers at times and, most of all, lyrics to make you think and listen"
FATEA Magazine (Rory Stanbridge)

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Musicians and contributors :

Becky Mills
All compositions 
* Vocals and
acoustic Guitars  
Blair Dunlop
 * Electric guitar
  * Backing vocals
Ruth Angell
* Violin 
* Pump Harmonium  
* Backing vocals   
Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne
 * Melodeon
  * Concertina
Jonny Short
* Acoustic Bass 
* Cello  
Marc Layton-Bennett
 * Drums
  * Percussion
Ashley Hutchings
MBE
* Vocals 
Recorded at 
* The Foundry Studios 
Chesterfield.
Recorded and Mixed by  
Paul Hopkinson & Dave Creffield.
Mastered by Andrew Thompson at Sound Performance, Greenwich.
183514_116528748423531_1874669_n.jpg

Gigs and general enquiries

enquiries@beckymillsgigs.co.uk

Recording enquiries

Talking Elephant Records

info@talkingelephant.co.uk

Photography by Andy Bulmer