Bob Evans
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Bob Evans


Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


"Nowhere With You - single review"

It's no surprise that Kevin - sorry, Bob - covers The Beatles on this single, given that the sprightly A-side takes most of its arrangement cues from Getting Better. It's also possibly the best Bob Evans song yet, with insistent piano, inspired string parts and a keyboard solo that begs to have been played on a Melloton. Another Year Gone is a slight, if pleasant, slow-building finger picked acoustic guitar'n'voice track while the jaunty live version of Two Of Us sees Josh Pyke playing McCartney to Evans' Lennon. - Drum Media - August 2006

"Suburban Songbook - Album review"

AS career moves go, changing your name from Kevin Mitchell to Bob Evans doesn't seem particularly enterprising but this second solo effort from the Jebediah frontman reveals an abundance of musical treasure that will surely make his alter ego a star. Suburban Songbook follows 2003's Suburban Kid and is once more a grab bag of Beatlesque, countryish pop tunes that dwell on love matters and have hummable hooks attached. The difference here is that the songs are so much stronger and better produced (in Nashville, with producer Brad Jones). There's a wealth of melodic twists and turns that also show Mitchell's voice to be a more versatile and emotional instrument than his Jebediah career has displayed. There's a country edge to the likes of Sadness and Whiskey and the opening Don't You Think it's Time, while the guitar pop of, say, Matthew Sweet springs to mind on Friend, the piano-driven Nowhere Without You and the swaggering Don't Walk Alone. Horns, strings and harmonica embellish in all the right places and never get in the way of these well-crafted gems - * * * * 1/2 - Weekend Australia - June 2006

"Suburban Songbook - Album review"

The solo alter ego of Jebediah frontman Kevin Mitchell has spread his wings and soared on his second album. Mitchell had lofty ambitions for this record and has realised them in spades, filling out his acoustic-based sound with keys, horns and strings. Songs like the jaunty Nowhere Without You and haunting acoustic guitar, cello and piano ballad recall the halcyon days of '60s pop. Don't Walk Alone is straight out of the Beatles and Crowded House songbook while Rocks In My Head has a great altcountry vibe. - Daily Telegraph - June 2006

"The Nashville pull (article)"

The ever-cheeky Kevin Mitchell has a naughty way of describing his alter ego and solo diversion from his pop punk band Jebediah.

When he's Bob Evans, the country-pop artist unveiling album No. 2 this month, Mitchell says he is "just wanking".

"When I do feel tinges of guilt about what I'm doing," he explains over coffee in a Mt Lawley cafe, "I feel better about the fact by thinking about it as, I'm not having sex with other people, I'm just masturbating a lot."

As the laughs subside, Mitchell / Evans quickly adds: "I'm talking metaphorically, very metaphorically."

The tinges of guilt that Mitchell feels probably emanate from the fact that Jebediah unveiled their excellent Braxton Hicks album on their own Redline Records last year. After a decade together, it was their first release without the backing of a major label.

Evans' first album, 2003's Suburban Kid, was a low-key affair. However, the follow-up Suburban Songbook is out via EMI and has already seen solid radio support for first single Don't You Think It's Time?

While he understands the interest in this situation, Mitchell prefers not to discuss it, apart from saying that his Jebediah chums are right behind Bob Evans.

"Those guys are really supportive and I think they understand that it's something that I just need to do," the 28-year-old says. "From a creative point of view, it's something that I need to do.

"Jebs have every intention of making another record, and the band hasn't broken up, as has been reported in some places. I'm a musician by trade, that's my job, and if I write songs I've got to do something with them or otherwise I'd go mad."

To be fair to Mitchell and the rest of Jebediah, the rise and rise of Bob Evans has been something of a surprise.

However, the excitement surrounding Suburban Songbook only remains an enigma until you hear the heart-warming collection of catchy country-pop tunes.

The mostly autobiographical songs were written in late 2004 and early 2005, with demoing completed by April last year. The demos were sent to Nashville-based producer Brad Jones, who directed US singer-songwriter Josh Rouse's brilliant Nashville and 1972 albums. Last September, Mitchell flew to the Tennessee capital to record Suburban Songbook.

"It was really a very happy accident," he explains. "It just so happened that (Jones) had a studio in Nashville... (and) it's only because I'm on my own that it was even affordable."

The fringe benefits of recording in Nashville were not limited to the fantastic Mexican and Caribbean-style food Mitchell enjoyed. The main bonus was the fact that Jones had plenty of contacts in the local music scene, including former Wilco drummer Ken Coomer.

"It was fantastic," Mitchell enthuses. "I was like a kid in a candy store. I'm just not used to going 'I'd really like there to be a flute on this thing' and the producer to go 'Great, I know a flute player. I'll ring 'em up right now'.

"Every instrument I could possibly think of, there was someone there who could do it. The place is full of musicians."

Mitchell says the album was "laid out in stone" before he joined Jones in Nashville, but the town was definitely the perfect place to realise his record.

"Nashville was a great backdrop and a great environment, which is important when you are making a record. The environment is conducive to the type of music that I was trying to make, for sure."

Lyrically, Suburban Songbook is an honest, often melancholy exploration of relationships - sometimes soaked in sadness and whisky. In fact, the demon drink pops up on more than one occasion and the fourth track and potential single is called Sadness & Whiskey.

"I think whisky is a fairly romantic drink," says Mitchell. "I mean, it's more romantic than Bundaberg Rum or Jim Beam.

"There's a sweetness and melancholy that I'm drawn to... I wouldn't call it bittersweet because I don't think there's anything bitter there. I wouldn't want to be a miserable bastard all the time and I don't think, to these ears, that this is a sad album. It's a happy album, it's a warm album."

Mitchell hasn't got much to be sad about, certainly not on the relationship front. He became engaged last year and after finishing the Nashville sessions spent four months living in Geneva, Switzerland, with his fiancee.

From his Swiss base, he played several shows in Sweden (supporting Melbourne's Architecture In Helsinki) and London (a Perth double-header with Team Jedi's Lee Hunter).

Since returning home in February, Mitchell has completed a successful national run with his mate Josh Pyke and now is looking forward to a series of instore launches for Suburban Songbook.

As Bob Evans gains momentum, Mitchell realised that the name he plucked off a t-shirt a few years ago may be taking over his life.

"Bob Evans is just a band name, you know," he says. "I'm not Bob Evans any more than I'm Jebediah, and these songs are all - bar two of them - com - The West Australian - June 2006

"Suburban Songbook - Album review"

Don't You Think It's Time? is not a Whitlam-era folk number but rather a paean for emotional reconciliation or maturity from the alter ego of Jebediah frontman Kevin Mitchell.

Judging from the songs on this assured and mostly excellent second album. Bob Evans is a bloke sick of meaningless, boozy late nights.

Sadness & Whiskey is a confessional case in point, a simple melody that spirals into an acoustic fog akin to portions of Wilco's Summerteeth album. The alternative country connections are obvious, from the oodless of slide guitar to the fact this was laid down in Nashville, Tennessee.

The host of Nashville players appearing on Suburban Songbook, courtesy of producer / bassist Brad Jones (Josh Rouse), doesn't overwhelm the plaintive beauty of Mitchell's tunes.

Don't Walk Alone displays a rare third-person approach (and reminds me of Blur's Country Home), while the rousing Comin' Around recalls the power pop of Matthew Sweet and Teenage Fanclub.

Like a burst of sunshine on a rainy day, sweetness pokes through the grey times in Mitchell's bittersweet songs. Suburban Songbook is a beautifully lucid anthology of sanguine country and folk-infused pop that deserves to make Bob Evans a household nom de plume. - The West Australian - June 2006


Stolen Songbook EP
Suburban Songbook LP
Suburban Kid LP


Feeling a bit camera shy


In late 2004, Kevin Mitchell - vocalist/guitarist for beloved Australian indie pop outfit Jebediah - was in the midst of touring his band's Braxton Hicks album when an old friend came a' calling. The year prior, under the guise of `Bob Evans, Mitchell had released a low key solo LP, Suburban Kid, an acclaimed debut that showcased another, more intimate side of his songwriting ability. With the cycle of touring nearing an end, Mitchell felt compelled not only to revisit the moods and mode of Bob Evans, but to exceed it on what would become the follow-up album.

Ambitions were high, even if circumstances were initially uncertain. Without a record deal and staring his first ever bout of writers block in the face, Mitchell set up a modest recording space at home and decided to simply write his way out of the fog.

"It's because of these circumstances that I am so proud of the record and regard it as a small, personal triumph," he says of the new Bob Evans album, aptly titled Suburban Songbook.

Going to work each day in the back sunroom of his home, Mitchell began recording songs purely for his own listening pleasure, daring himself to write orchestral epics via synthesizer and pop songs that blasted with horns one minute and thumped with pianos the next. As the months rolled by, the cloud began to lift.

I was just totally indulging my own little fantasies, he recalls, just being really ambitious because it was just for my private universe. I became more and more obsessed with the process and started treating the demo as if it were the actual album because I was getting so excited by the results. Thats how I was doing it for months, then eventually some people heard it, and dug it.

By the time EMI Music indicated their interest, Mitchell had demoed more than 20 new songs, eventually choosing 12 he wanted to feature on the new LP. In the search for producers, Nashville-based Brad Jones (Josh Rouse, Yo La Tengo, Sheryl Crow) surfaced as an immediate (and enthusiastic) protagonist.

Jones took Mitchells wide-eyed-and-gritty vision for the album and suggested a more refined, listener-friendly approach. In September of 2005, Mitchell had packed his bags and was ready to work.

By the time I arrived in Nashville Id refined it down to making something more cohesive, structured and workable, rather than making this full on record where every song is just all over the place, he recalls. I didnt want the sentiment of the songs being lost amongst my musical ideas.

With access to some of Nashvilles tastiest players (including ex-Wilco drummer Ken Coomer) work began on an album that would be heavy on varied instrumentation without being some kind of overproduced monolith. So while there may be an abundance of horns, pedal steel, cellos, violin and flute to be heard here and there on the LP, theyre all staying true to the suburban kid.

We always thought about it as making a record rather than recording a bunch of songs, Mitchell explains. That was foremost in our minds. We wanted to make a classic album, something true sounding and cohesive. Pure and natural, all those kinds of things rather than having any illusions about making the next White album.

The result is an album that shoots for the sky and keeps its feet on the ground. First single, Dont You Think Its Time? is a warm hug of alt-country; Im Coming Around and Dont Walk Alone wail with horn arrangements that complement Mitchells solo confidence; while the troubled dreamscape of The Battle Of 2004 - the first song written for the album - is lifted to heavenly places via pedal steel and strings.

Interestingly, while Nashville was the birthplace of this recording, the music floats around that environment and beyond it.

Nashville had a profound influence on me personally, Mitchell reflects, it was life-changing. But apart from having lots of really great players living there I dont think it really affected the sound of the album. People will listen to it and hear pedal steel, but those who know me know that thats an instrument I would have wanted anyway.

Lyrically, Mitchell transcends the country tinges to focus on homespun intimacies. Big adventures can indeed happen in little worlds and its in this realm that the personal can evoke the universal.

I wanted to really push the idea and feeling of turning the `Suburban Everyday into something of almost fairytale quality, Mitchell explains. Of romanticism. That magic can happen in the suburbs every single day. Almost like making a record where within the stories its like everythings happening on Christmas morning. Theres that little hint of magic in the air.

Suburban Songbook is an album of songs about home by someone who spends a lot of time away from it. Mitchell admits to being unashamedly nostalgic, which is not surprising from someone who can sit in a pub with a beer in one hand, a steak sandwich in the other and say, without embarrassment or affectation, Im a big