Alexandria, the first new album from songwriter Chris Mills in five years, will be released Jan 21st. Comprising nine original songs featuring newly-christened backing band, the Distant Stars — producer Christer Knutsen, bassist Ryan Hembrey and drummer Konrad Meissner — the album began to take shape after an unexpected encounter in the Norwegian wilderness in 2009.
“My bass player Ryan and I had been stumbling through Europe playing a lot of out-of-the-way places,” says Mills. “One night, in a remote town three hours south of Oslo, we heard music coming from this tiny bar. The band was good, but what struck me most was this lanky piano and lap steel player in the corner. He was amazing.”
After Mills approached the pianist and introduced himself, he was surprised to learn that he was talking with Knutsen – a Norwegian producer, songwriter and session ace as well as the country’s foremost Chris Mills aficionado. The musician had been following Mills’ career since the American troubadour rose to prominence in late 90's Chicago, collaborating with Mekons Jon Langford and Sally Timms, and sharing bills with Steve Earle, Wilco, Neko Case and My Morning Jacket among others. Knutsen was just as shocked to run into Mills – one of his own musical touchstones – wandering the Scandinavian countryside.
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