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No one could doubt Kevin Mitchell’s virtue. He lives far from the evils of the city on Denman Island, pays homage to his ancestors in his liner notes, plays handmade guitars, and performs everywhere “from the bingo halls of Moose Jaw to the west coast clear-cuts.” He sounds like a lovely person, certainly qualifying as one of those eccentric characters that pop up in rural areas and quietly pursue soap-making, organic farming, and fair trade coffee roasting when not shining as the sole artistic light in the community. Unfortunately, his music is less enchanting, typified by musical arrangements that employ far more boogie-woogie than is medically sound, and cliché lyrics about crazy trains, dancing until dawn, and howling to the moon. And it’s really been awhile since I’ve heard a singer whose voice was so evocative of Jim Croce, which leads me to believe that Mitchell has not really been in touch with the alt-country crowd he now counts himself amongst. This music is far too earnest for my taste; a few less flourishes of mandolin and a more realistic view of rural life might be a step in the right direction. (Karyn Bonham)

CD, HipBone Music, 2615 Jemima Rd. Denman Island, BC, V0R 1T0, www.kevinmitchell.ca

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