REVIEW: Keith Alan Mitchell – ‘This Clumsy World’

keith alan mitchell

Artist: Keith Alan Mitchell
Album: This Clumsy World
Genre: Indie Folk, Acoustic

Classic rock was a constant in my home as a child, and folk variations of the beloved genre were a staple as well. Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Neil Young, and Dylan; these were artists that were seldom left off the turntable in my younger years. My inherent affinity for classic rock has always stuck with me, and over the years I’ve grown a strong liking for modern folk music in the vein of Bowerbirds, Megafaun, Fleet Foxes, and Port Isla, so when I come across artists that have a modern folk approach with obvious classic rock influences, my attention and interest is of course naturally drawn to their works. Keith Alan Mitchell is one such artist, and the San Francisco-based singer-songwriter recently released his debut album, This Clumsy World, which melds acoustic-driven folk and rock, infused with classic elements reminiscent of some of the aforementioned pioneers from earlier generations.

This Clumsy World opens with “Been Buried,” a no-frills acoustic rock-like effort that I’d say isn’t even close to indicative of what the remainder of the album has to offer. That’s not to say it’s a bad track; it’s solid through and through, but it doesn’t offer any of the additional layers and fuller sounds that most of the others do on the effort. For example, the opener’s immediately followed by “Swaying,” a song that incorporates the use of piano, bass, and percussion and shows Mitchell exploring his vocal range a bit more. The song also features Kathy Kennedy on backing vocals which adds a nice elegance to the song’s chorus.

This Clumsy World has a lot to offer fans of folk and softer rock of eras passed. Whether you’re looking for something with a little more poppy and playful structure (“You Just Disappear”), an upbeat classic feel reminiscent of The Band (“Tavern Angeline”), something akin to an ’80s acoustic ballad (“Crossed That Line”), or a song with a truly classic pop-rock sound (“The Low Way”), you’ll likely find yourself enjoying This Clumsy World.

There’s admittedly a track or two that may seem to slow the momentum down with a tad bit of monotony and I’d be lying if I said there was anything groundbreaking about this album, but Keith Alan Mitchell plays what he loves and his passion and influence shows throughout This Clumsy World. The musicians that accompanied him on the release deserve their credit, too, as the inclusion of keyboards, percussion, mandolin and other strings leave their own memorable marks and serve the record well. And hell, for a debut, this twelve-track collection is a great introduction to an artist that’s sure to bring even more on his next release.

SCORE: 7.6/10
Review written by Brian Lion — (Follow him on Twitter)

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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