Luke Mitchem
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Luke Mitchem

Vienna, Virginia, United States | SELF

Vienna, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



""... Love, Laura and the Bomb is an album folk fans will revel in...""

Album: Love, Laura and the Bomb

Review by Andrea Guy

Luke Mitchem has been compared to some pretty stellar artists since 2009 when he released his first album, including Ryan Adams, Damien Rice and Ray Lamontagne. A few minutes into Love, Laura and the Bomb, it is clear that these comparisons are valid. Mitchem’s vocals are front and center on this collection of acoustic songs. He’s got a soft, yet powerful voice that often overshadows the music, but that isn’t a bad thing, because his voice is the kind that draws people in. The album opens with a short tune “…love…” in which Mitchem shares the vocal spotlight with Stacie Fredrich.

The songs on Love, Laura and the Bomb display both intimacy and maturity. Luke’s backing band, The Endless Spirits Band, play with simplicity. The most notable instrument on many of these songs is not the guitar but the harmonica, as it is the one instrument that doesn’t slip into the background. It really sets the mood on “Pretty Girl From Annapolis,” which is very melancholy. Most of Luke’s songs have that same mood, and the arrangements reflect that. Bevin Foley plays a mournful fiddle on “Old Man On A Porch Swing.”

Luke found inspiration for the song “Under The World” in Abby Sunderland’s quest to become the youngest solo-circumnavigator to sail around the world. He really captures the spirit of the young sailor with his lyrics. “She left the pacific, the passages were indifferent, to circle the edge of the world, and oceans like mountains, and skies imperfections, she listened to the minor chords, cos under the world, sails a girl, looking to be set free.” The song starts out with the sounds of rushing waves and the acoustic guitar brings an uplifting quality to a melody that is lighter than most on Love, Laura and the Bomb. Most of the songs seem to be downers, so finding a track that isn’t comes as a bit of a relief. “Smile” is another such song. It is just Luke singing and Pat Carey playing the mandolin, and could easily be mistaken as a song from the Mermaid Avenue album by Wilco and Billy Bragg. In fact, Mitchem sounds just a little bit like Jeff Tweedy on this track.

The songs that lean more towards Americana are Mitchem at his best, with near-perfect music, lyrics and arrangements. Luke sounds lively on them, and while every song can’t be perky and upbeat, those are the songs that really stand out on this record.

A few more melancholy standouts include “Weeping Willow Tree” and “A Fire Still Burns.” The former of the two is so slow that many listeners may lose interest before the song reaches its end, while the latter balances the slow tempo with some spark and levity from the harmonica.

Love, Laura and the Bomb is an album folk fans will revel in. Luke Mitchem is a new face on the scene, but his voice will sound like an old friend. It will be interesting to see how Luke progresses on future albums. If Love, Laura and the Bomb is any indication, he is certainly an artist to watch.

Review by Andrea Guy

Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
- Andrea Guy - Ariel Publicity

"A Mood of Tradition and Imagery"

A Mood of Tradition and Imagery -

Where has traditional American music gone? Is it lost in the noise and mainstreams of talentless icons? Are the moods of snowy mountains, railroad tracks, people on American Main Streets drinking coffee in a diner looking out a window, deep in thought or, a quiet walk through a snowy path in a Northeast forest, remembering a past love, disappearing from the music of today?

The soulful themes have a refreshing renaissance upon hearing “Love, Laura and the
Bomb”, the new album from Luke Mitchem. After listening to the masterpiece several times, historic emotions have re-surfaced in me laced with the imagery of winter, love, love lost and any town America. Fiddles swell behind up-beat acoustic guitar and smiling lyrics like; “I was born in a house down on Main Street and ‘till this day, that’s where my daddy sleeps!”.

Haunting songs with solemn moods like “…love…”, which starts out with the sound of a man walking through snow, and “Weeping Willow Tree”, which traces the memory of a loss lost tragically, are beautifully intertwined on Luke’s third album release in the past 18 months.

The musical arrangements include a variety of harmonicas, pianos, guitars, violins, cellos, drums and Luke’s trademark male/female harmonies throughout the album. Folk singers, new and old, would be proud of this artists’ expanding musical vision. In short, the album is a ‘must have’ for those willing to truly listen to memories and images in shades of; silent hills, winter railroads, the sea and lost loves.
- Ryan David Miller, Poet

"" a softer Bob Dylan...""

Luke Mitchem is a sensitive folk singer-songwriter - like a softer Bob Dylan you might say, or a more melancholic Pete Seeger. - Metro Weekly - Washington, DC

""...a blend of Elliot Smith’s emotional songwriting, David Gray’s stark voice, and the breathiness of Joshua Radin...""

Luke Mitchem
It Won’t Last Forever

Luke Mitchem’s lonely sound makes for an array of emotional songs about inner working of the human soul. Some inspiring, others somber, the acoustic-heavy It Won’t Last Forever manages graceful, lingering lyrics like on ‘Roses for a King’ where he sings “Snow falls on me/Like dirt on my grave/I am next to kings/And they sang blood on the streets.”
Mitchem is colorful - skillful at placing imagery with music like a documentarian and musician all at once. At first listen, the tone comes across heartbreaking, tenuous and glum - but outstanding nonetheless. Mitchem has crafted songs that are raw even as they sound tender.
The swaying heartbreaks in ‘Long, Long Road’ and ‘Word Parade,’ along with modest confessional pain on ‘Crooked Smile’ and ‘For Marie, My Savior’ create a barren, ethereal low-key landscape. This is wrapped in the loneliness of gentle guitar playing and occasional female harmonizing. The most commanding song - the broken elegy ‘Roses for a King,’ sounds like a mountain cry to the masses but Mitchem couldn’t be more muttered as Mitchem calmly repeats, “It won’t last forever/It won’t last forever.” ‘Long, Long Road’ digs, and cuts, deep. It’s an achingly sad song, about the inability to forgive and scarred human terrain. When Mitchem solemnly sings “I wish that I could forget you/But it’s such a long road” you not only believe him but feel it as if the moment were your own.
Mitchem’s voice is rural, soft spoken and hazy. He sings in a hushed and whispered tone - ominous, as if about to pounce. Despite heavy themes, Mitchem’s voice conveys most of the weight, strolling along, as if taking the world’s burden alone. His charming lyrics, contrasted with empathetic tone makes him subtle and engaging, a blend of Elliot Smith’s emotional songwriting, David Gray’s stark voice, and the breathiness of Joshua Radin.

Brian Tucker - Bootleg Magazine - NC - Bootleg Magazine - North Carolina

""... crossing Van Morrison with Ray Lamontagne ...""

"... Introspective songs from a contemporary acoustic indie artist. Imagine if Van Morrison joined voices and lyrics with Ray LaMontagne ..." - Todd Walker - Singer/Songwriter


Album- It Won't Last Forever - February 2009

Album - A Fading Frontier - November 2009

Album - Love, Laura and the Bomb - January 2011



Luke Mitchem's songs are rooted in singer/songwriter styling, blending elements of folk, Americana, indie and blues. His backing band, The Endless Spirits, incorporate violin, fiddle, harmonica and piano that serve to drive home the mood of each song, providing distinguishing depth and emotion.

Three years and three albums later, Luke has deliberately and confidently produced works that reveal truth and soul from deep within his consciousness. With a voice reminiscent of Ray LaMontagne and Bruce Springsteen, and a lyrical intensity on par with Damien Rice, Luke uses his strongest musical asset to weave personal stories throughout his songs. His lyrics reveal the fabric of his personal life and loves, deftly combining allusion and poetic verse with powerful symbolism. His singing displays depth, character, texture and substance that meld perfectly with his subtle, straightforward guitar arrangements.

Luke is currently writing the score for the indie film, “The Gift”, directed by Harold Jackson III, while also working on songs for his next release -- a double album with an anticipated release date of autumn 2012. When he’s not writing music, Luke is working on his first two novels.