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-  Label: 'Wasteland Records (www.colemitchell.com)'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Catalogue No: 'cm00202'

Our Rating:
Anybody remember Roger Chapman, with his quivering, raucous singing style? Well, Cole Mitchell sounds like Roger Chapman sings country, and Cole's distinctive singing is married to honest, quirky, humorous songwriting and a lo-fi slightly chaotic sound that adds up to one very distictive and appealing set of songs. He describes his music as a twisted take on the country music he grew up with - Hank Williams et al. His story is that after several other working lives, he fronted a particularly raucous honky-tonk band for fifteen years, which I'd like to have heard. Although he sometimes sounds a bit like Steve Earle, his is far from a classic country voice, and undermines completely any notion that you night be listening to bog-standard country fare.

Bitter and twisted, his writing deals with life not turning out like the brochure promised - happiness, contentment and true love always round the next corner: "Been a long time coming, a long time gone/ Since I had a good gal or a proper home/ I'm a steamroller, got a million plans/ If one of them clicks I'm going to stick it to the man" (Born To Lose). For a little time, life can come together, and he can appreciate it with a poet's intensity: "Can't you hear the night, oh it's deafening/ With the stars so bright they could burn out your eyes/ And I don't know darlin' if you're listening/ But with you right here tonight I'm sure alive" (Van Gogh's Moon).

Mostly, though, things don't work out and a new day, a fresh start have to be faced all over again. His wry humour is never far away, though, and all these things are matched by loose country arrangements, twangy guitar often to the fore and back-up singing from Glenda June Fish that is gloriously, appropriately, never quite with the lead vocal. Three cheers for Allen Appel's guitar and Cole Mitchell's own production that take us from the scratchy lo-fi confessed pain of "Transient Emotions" to the dance floor fun of "Bye Bye Baby". Here's a man to cheer for, an antidote to the same old radio-friendly schtick.

  author: John Davy

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