There’s little not to like about Maine wanderer Paddy Mills’ simple guitar/voice/stompbox record “3 Lefts.”

Mills designed the record to sound exactly as though he were right there in your living room. For some artists, the more raw the recording, the more exposed their shortcomings. But to Mills’ credit, his congenial delivery makes for one smooth listen.

It’s made clear that “3 Lefts” is perfect for a pancake-flippin’, easy-livin’ morning by the time the spry gem “Sunday Morning” drops. Making full use of his clap-friendly plywood box for a backbeat, Mills lays out the M.O. of the album as his honey makes breakfast in her PJs: “I’m going nowhere / Because I’ve been working too hard.”

A laissez-faire attitude is a good fit for the Jack Johnson-style sound, and it makes a charming return on “Another Day, Another Sand Dollar.” The cozy studio setup also allows Mills to flash some pretty swanky acoustic blues chops, such as with the funk licks that color the slap-bass inspired “Medium Luck.”

Given the paper-thin margin of error, Mills’ experiment runs a couple of tunes too long, and can result in a flat vocal performance, as on the pitchy “120 Pounds.” But who’s to say what will become of this already bold writer when he goes all Jeff Tweedy on us and adds crafted twists and layers to his solid song structures?

Mike Olcott is a freelance writer.


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