The Mitch Tones Band is a group of young rockers that hail from the small town of Greenback, located in Ontario, Canada. The members met back in 2015 and released their debut last October under the same name. The band describes their album “as a blend of classic and modern rock, uniquely seasoned with a theatrical “back-road” twang.” A modernized approach to blues rock and storytelling where the Tragically Hip meets up with Pearl Jam. Mitch Tones works most of the helm with guitar, keyboards/piano and vocals, while Danny Cooksey lays down the beats and Paul Sawchuk plucks notes on the bass.
The opener “Word of Trouble” has it all - a dusty, back road flavor with explosive energy, haunting backing vocals and a fantastically slick guitar solo. “Devil She Is” rocks in more of an alternative style with snippets of funk and grunge. The lyrics tell about a woman with more than one trick up her sleeve – “you blink for a second and you miss the devil she is.” “Ropes Around Their Neck” swings (pun intended?) and bops with a folk-rock rhythm, and what I think are accompanied castanets. In a nutshell, Tones sings about having bad luck or being convicted of something, but the truly convicted are the people who live with ropes around their necks every day. The gruesome sound of a swinging rope with what I can only imagine is a dead, attached body ends the song.
“Johnny BlackGun” starts jamming on the acoustic and then the electric, bass and drums jump in with a Bo Diddley “Who Do You Love?” beat. It’s a great storytelling song filled with reckless car rides, a bullet with Johnny’s name on it, loads of cash and outlaws on the run heading for the underworld. “Not Waking Up” is a slower, smoky tune filled with lyrics that are quite chilling – “And I’ll sleep with a smile and a heart full of love / I’m staring down the reaper, yeah I’m calling his bluff / I’ve got a heart torn but tough, oh tomorrow I’m not waking up….” The guitar solo is damn good, like old school metal meets up with outlaw country rock, as are the haunting vocals backing up Tones. He doesn’t write any obvious reasons why he’s not waking up, just some slight hints through bouts of whiskey, old photographs and just enough reassurance of that all-important meeting one day – whether it’s with Gabriel or the Grim Reaper.
While neither Pearl Jam or Tragically Hip came to mind for me after listening to Mitch Tones Band, I think you’ll find that this band is musically solid, spirited and driven and their songwriting very entertaining. In my view, a well-done performance from start to finish.
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