Thursday, July 27, 2006

CD of the Day, 7/27/06: Bob Evans-Suburban Songbook

Bob Evans is the nom de plume of Jebediah's Kevin Mitchell. If you're not familiar with Jebediah, don't fret - neither am I. Mitchell (whom I'll refer to here on out as Evans) apparently uses the Bob Evans name when performing solo to differentiate his solo work from his band work. Either that, or he's a big fan of the restaurant. Naming issue aside, he could be called Satan McHitler for all I care, given how good Suburban Songbook is - I'll probably end up having 50-60 discs worthy of my top 20 this year, but this one will definitely have a spot.

Although Evans hails from Perth, Australia, Suburban Songbook was recorded in Nashville and produced by Brad Jones. That last tidbit alone should tell you most of what you need to know - Jones has been the producer of some great albums in recent years (Josh Rouse's Nashville, David Mead's Tangerine, the last few Shazam albums, I could go on) Also helping out is ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer. It's not that Coomer is the world's greatest drummer, but somehow when he's involved the records seem to be great (pre-YHF Wilco, Swag, The Latebirds).

With this pedigree, Suburban Songbook does not disappoint. Opener and leadoff single "Don't You Think It's Time" is a wonderful acoustic ballad, and like with so many Aussie artists, there's a definite Neil Finn influence. Next up is the album's standout, 3:29 of pure jangle called "Friend", and that's followed by "Nowhere With You", a bouncy Beatlesque number. "Sadness & Whiskey" is a great midtempo number equal parts Rouse and Mead, and "Don't Walk Alone" would have fit right into place on either of the last two Warren Zanes discs. Meanwhile, "Comin' Around" is straight up power pop, and the "hidden track", "Me and My Friend", ventures into Elliott Smith territory. Suburban Songbook is truly singer-songwriter pop of the highest order.

Here's an mp3:


That comes from his myspace page, where you can check out three other tracks as well. Unfortunately, for those outside Australia, there's a catch: you won't find the record in stores or from domestic e-tailers, as this is an Aussie-only release so far. (eMu folks, don't get excited - the Bob Evans on there is a different artist). I normally don't advocate grabbing stuff through the magic of filesharing when it comes to indie artists, but given how expensive this disc would be to import at the moment, I promise to look the other way if you promise to buy it when it becomes available domestically. It'd be a shame for it to go unheard around most of the world otherwise.

Meanwhile, here's a video interview with Bob (er Kevin):


miin from melbourne said...

ahh i love me some bob.
i hope it becomes available in the states soon. "don't you think it's time" is just beautiful.
have you got "suburban kid" his previous album? soooo many gems on there.. look out (via filesharing if you must) for "sore eyes" "living for today" and "friday come five". brilliant.
thank you for bringing bob to the american pop loving public!

Anonymous said...

How about reviewing music we can actually buy? Nice to know there's a good artist out there I can't even listen to because he's not released yet in the USA.

Anonymous said...

hey dude, its Kevin, not Keith :(

thanks for the great review

Anonymous said...

you can check out this album player!

claren44 said...

Both CDs & his EP are availible on iTunes Australia here.
I don't know if the prices are Aussie or U.S..
Love & Peace, Clarence