Bill Mize

The Angel's Share
Bill Mize

Tennessee’s Bill Mize is a solo acoustic guitarist who, though he possesses great chops, never lets his fingers get in the way of a great song.

Mize wrote eight of the 10 tracks on his latest album, The Angel’s Share, and all are loaded with memorable melodies and feel – not just great guitar playing. He often uses harmonics, but always in the service of the song, as on “Dogs In the Hole,” a bluesy boogie with a high melody and harmonics that play beautifully off the mood. “Puppy Love” has a nice ’50s feel with help from Beth Bramhall on accordion. “Don’t Wake the Dogs” is a moody, serious piece with an intro that sets the stage with harmonics and chiming chords, and guitar as a percussive instrument. The song is filled with interesting sounds.

There are a couple of notable covers, beginning with a stomping version of Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say.” Not typically associated with a solo acoustic player, the song’s recognizable bass line and melody roll together perfectly – just Mize and his guitar, funky and soulful. Mize also covers Charlie Rich’s gospel tune, “Feel Like Going Home.” With help from Pete Wasner on a Hammond B-3, Mize delivers the deep religious feel.

The Angel’s Share proves it takes more than just chops to be great – and Mize proves a great song can deliver as well as an overt display of chops.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s June ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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