Sunday, December 8, 2013

Remembering a Country Troubadour...

Country music has lost an outlaw—one with an endearing “style of rustic simplicity.”

“Outlaw by definition is one that is unconventional or rebellious. Wayne Mills by definition is one that is a stiff-necked, country troubadour with an affinity for Honky-tonks and possessing a style of rustic simplicity.”

From the small Northern Alabama town of Arab, Mills was “raised on the values of the working man, and like most working men, young Mills listened to blue collar anthems sang by Hank Williams, Jr, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard. Little did the future performer know that the heavy beat and misfortune-laden lyrics of outlaw country would lay the ground work for his music career.”

Mills earned a degree in Education and played football with the legendary University of Alabama team before returning to the music he loved and hitting the road with the Wayne Mills Band.  They became one of the most successful country bands throughout the South and presented some memorable opening acts. On their way to the top, country music superstars, Jamey Johnson and Blake Shelton, as well as American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, opened for the Band.

Most recently, the Nashville singer/songwriter toured with fellow country-outlaw musician and friend, Johnson. Mills was soon to release his studio album, Long Hard Road.

From “ ‘My music is a combination of my country roots with the real world I have come to know,’ said Mills. Long Hard Road is a chapter in the songbook of Wayne Mills’ life: leaving no stone unturned when it comes to lyric and life.”

@TaylorHicks: “My good friend Wayne Mills passed away in Nashville. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. RIP Wayne he was my buddy.”

Huntsville, Alabama, was the first Taylor Hicks concert I ever attended. Wayne Mills Band was opening for Taylor that night as the American Idol continued his first National Tour. The Band was high energy with hard hitting country…I knew I was back to the South! I will never forget that moment of excitement and the Alabama country sound that started me on this musical journey. I am grateful to have crossed the path of this man with “a style of rustic simplicity.”

After all, “a style of rustic simplicity,” may just be that to which we all could aspire.

Jerald Wayne Mills will be laid to rest today, in Arab, Alabama.

Funeral arrangements:


@TaylorHicks on Twitter

Photo: Wayne Mills, via