Independent singer-songwriter Mitchel Evan’s new self-titled album is a welcome addition to this year’s field of new albums in the realm of country music, folk and Americana. Released March 24, the 12-song record will appeal widely to fans of the noted genres. That is due in part to the recording’s featured musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the record’s musical arrangements work with that content to add more appeal to the album. It will be discussed a little later. The sequencing of the record’s songs puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Evan’s new album. All things considered, the album proves to be a presentation that is worth hearing occasionally.
Mitchel Evan’s new self-titled album is a work that fans of Americana, neo-folk and country will find an interesting addition to this year’s field of new albums within said genres. That is proven in part through the album’s featured musical arrangements. The arrangements in question span all three genres, which are very closely related to begin with but are still diverse in their own right. Speaking specifically, the arrangements featured in this 46-minute presentation will appeal to fans of Evan’s more well-known counterparts, such as Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young. Additionally, one can also make some comparisons to works from Goo Goo Dolls. Yes, that seems like quite the jarring contrast for the other noted but it is there. Right from the album’s outset, ‘As Far As You Know,’ the album gives listeners something of a bluesy, southern rock vibe that itself is comparable to works from Goo Goo Dolls. ‘Bandaid,’ which comes early in the album, is another of those works that so easily lends itself to comparisons to works from Goo Goo Dolls. That is evidenced through the song’s collective string arrangement, guitar line, and vocals. Much the same can be said of the arrangement featured in ‘Cancel out the Noise.’
Things change dramatically in terms of the arrangements as the album progresses to ‘Gotta Be A Way,’ the album’s midpoint. The twang of the slide guitar, Evan’s own vocal delivery and the backing female vocals give this song a distinct vintage country music vibe. The warmth in the arrangement and its sound lend themselves to visions of the old country honky tonk club of days gone by. It is so completely unlike the other songs already examined here, and in the process manages to show Evan’s ability and talent even in this genre.
‘Kansas City’ continues to exhibit the noted country music influence in its arrangement. What is interesting here is that Evan’s vocal delivery style and sound here lend themselves to comparisons to those of Bob Dylan. That in itself makes for even more interest, considering that Dylan has done some works during his career that have shown some country music leanings. To that end, it is one more way in which the record’s musical arrangements show their importance. That diversity and depth is clearly there.
The Bruce Springsteen comparison comes even later in the album’s run in the form of ‘Leeches’ and ‘Let Me Down Easy.’ It is not an immediately obvious comparison. A close listen however, makes the comparison clearer. Between these arrangements, the others notes throughout the record and the remaining works, the whole of the album’s featured arrangements offer much to appreciate in their diversity and accessibility. Keeping that in mind, the arrangements make for reason in themselves for audiences to hear Mitchel Evan’s new self-titled album. They are just part of what makes the album worth consideration, too. The record’s lyrical content makes for even more reason for audiences to hear the album.
The lyrical content featured in Mitchel Evan’s new album is important to note because for the most part, it follows one overarching theme, that of relationships. Starting again right from the album’s opener, that theme is inferred. Evan sings in the song’s chorus, “I was good to you/As far as you know.” It is a short, simple line, but speaks volumes. This is someone who is addressing another, pointing out that he tried to make a relationship work. In the chorus’ refrain, he changes things, stating, “You were good to me,” adding “I was the good guy/But I lost the fight.” He even asks in the song’s lead verse, “What have we done this time…Did I lose your attention or just my mind?” This is but a sampling of the song’s lyrical content, but is enough to infer that as noted, it is a song takes on the familiar topic of a broken relationship. The vulnerability that is displayed through his use of words is impacting to say the least. When it is considered with the vulnerability expressed through the song’s musical arrangement, it proves to be even deeper and accessible. It is just one example of how that largely overarching theme makes for its own appeal. ‘Cancel Out the Noise’ is another example of the effect of the album’s lyrical content.
Evan debuted ‘Cancel Out the Noise’ in February. He openly said during an interview about the song that it is also focused on the noted lyrical theme.
“It came to me when I was falling for someone new,” he said. “I was living in Colorado at the time, but I actually started writing the song in Richmond while I was home for a week visiting my family. This song actually first appeared on my 2018 EP, The Little Horse Tapes. I had only been single for a short while after coming out of a long-term relationship and I was hesitant to enter another. The song is about being pulled into love with your heels dug into the dirt.” There is no need to go through lyrics here to support one’s argument. Evan has made it clear here that once again, he has offered audiences a song whose lyrical content focuses on the noted topic of relationships. It is yet another example of how that recurring, accessible theme plays into the album’s presentation. ‘Lonesome Love,’ which comes late in the album, needs little to no examination. The very title itself of that song pretty much explains its theme.
Evan asks in this song, ‘Oh my lonesome love/Where do you hide/Show me where you hide” in the song’s chorus.” This after already stating in the song’s lead verse, “When I finally show up/You’ll already be on your way home.” There is even a mention of facing the music later in the song. Considering all of this and the rest of the record’s content, the whole makes the song in whole clearly another lyrical presentation that centers on a relationship. When it, the other songs noted here, and the rest of the album’s songs are considered together, the whole makes clear that there is one primary lyrical theme featured in this record that is accessible to any listener. That familiarity and accessibility collectively make the album that much more appealing. It still is not the last of the album’s most important elements. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.
The sequencing of Mitchel Evan’s new album is so important to address because of the subtleties in the shifts in its energies. For the most part, the album’s energies are relatively reserved throughout. However there are some variances within the songs and from one to the next. Those shifts are so subtle that one cannot help but remain engaged and entertained. Case in point is ‘Lonesome Love.’ It has some very clear reserved energy, but at the same time, just as much energy balanced against that element. The bigger picture here and throughout the album is that its sequencing ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the arrangements and their lyrical accompaniments. That is because of the amount of time and thought put into the subtle changes in the songs’ energies. All things considered, the record proves to be a record that deserves to be heard at least once.
Mitchel Evan’s new self-titled album, released last month, is a work that will appeal widely to listeners. That is proven in part through the record’s featured musical arrangements. By and large, the record’s musical arrangements will appeal to fans of the realms of roots rock, Americana and country. Though there is a little rock influence to keep things interesting. The album’s overarching lyrical theme centering on relationships and romance will appeal to fans of those all too familiar topics. The record’s sequencing balances its more reserved energies and its higher tempo moments, adding even more appeal to the whole. Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the record. All things considered, the album proves itself to be a presentation that the noted audiences will agree is worth hearing at least once. Mitchel Evan is available now.
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