Local singer-songwriter Justin Mills originally formed Akron-based Blue Hour with grade school friend Nick Kovacs. Together, they released two EPs that they recorded at Kovacs’s house, but Mills ultimately realized that he needed a full band to “make the magic happen.”
Over the past year, he’s expanded Blue Hour into a quartet. Next week, the group will release its latest single, “Way Out Past the Moon,” a tune that reflects the band’s ’90s-era alternative rock and indie folk influences.
The group plans to put out one more single in the coming months too.
“I like a lot of alternative folk indie stuff like Lumineers and Mt. Joy,” says Mills in a recent phone interview. “And I love Tom Petty. I think his songwriting structure is some of the best.”
Last year, the band recorded “Way Out Past the Moon” and one other track in Columbus at Oranjudio.
A twangy tune, “Way Out Past the Moon” begins with a voicemail from Mills’s late grandmother; Mills thought it would be a good way to pay tribute to her.
“I had a voicemail from her from a few months before she passed,” he says. “I thought it was kind of special. She lives inside the song now. There’s that country and rootsy influence that’s at the beginning of the song, but we felt like we needed a break in it to make it feel big. We wanted it to feel like this big moment of floating or blasting off. We cranked up the guitars and Trevor got a ton of feedback. It really worked out. We were stoked when we heard the final product for the first time.”
Coming up, the band performs on Friday, April 1, at Musica in Akron, on Saturday, April 2, at CODA, and on Saturday, May 14, at Mustard Seed in Akron.
Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]