Bob Evans (musician)

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Kevin Mitchell
Bobwi.jpg
Kevin Mitchell performing at WOMADelaide in Adelaide, March 2008.
Background information
Birth name Kevin Edward Mitchell
Also known as Bob Evans
Born (1977-10-01) 1 October 1977 (age 37)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Origin Bull Creek, Western Australia, Australia
Genres Alternative rock
Folk pop
Years active 2003 – present
Labels Redline Records (2003 - 2005)
EMI Music Australia Pty Limited (2006 – Present)
Website Official website

Kevin Edward Mitchell (born 1 October 1977) is an Australian musician who is known for his role as the vocalist and guitarist of the alternative rock band Jebediah, and his solo work under the stage name of Bob Evans. Jebediah released five studio albums between 1997 and 2011, the first three of which entered the top ten of the ARIA Albums Chart.[1] Mitchell commenced performing as Bob Evans in 1999 to pursue a solo career of "quieter" songs that were influenced by music that was different from the primary sound of Jebediah. In 2012 recording commenced for the fourth Bob Evans album and the completed work, Familiar Stranger, was released in March 2013.[2]

Early life[edit]

From the age of five to 18 years, Mitchell grew up in the outer Perth suburb of Bull Creek, Western Australia.[3] Mitchell said of his hometown, "It's a very ordinary, plain little suburb with a primary school and a shopping centre and a BMX track," while speaking about the title of his Goodnight, Bull Creek! album in 2009.[4]

Mitchell attended Bull Creek Primary School, where he played Australian rules football;[5] Mitchell also attended dance classes during his adolescence.[6] Followed his successful completion of the Tertiary Entrance Examination (TEE) at Leeming Senior High School, Mitchell commenced an undergraduate degree at a Western Australian university. After the first year of an undergraduate degree, Mitchell decided to forego his university studies to sign a record deal with Jebediah, together with his older brother Brett the band's drummer.[citation needed]

In 2009 Mitchell revealed his experience of depression for a brief period at the age of 16 years, a condition that he revisited in 2007. Mitchell explained:

I was feeling down with myself. The only time I had ever suffered depression was as a teenager when I was at school and here I was, 31 years old, and the last thing I ever thought was that those feelings would come back. I was confused and angry about it, thinking, "This is ridiculous, I'm an adult for Christ's sake", admonishing myself.[7]

The experience would eventually inspire the Bob Evans song "Pasha Bulker" from the album Goodnight Bull Creek.[8]

In a series of blog posts for The Music.com.au website, published in March 2013, Mitchell revealed that he was "a 17 year-old university drop out that was still living with his parents rent free whilst discovering the joys of smoking bucket bongs",[9] and provided the following description of his parents in the same series of blog posts: "working class, English immigrant parents".[10]

Music[edit]

Jebediah[edit]

In 1994 Mitchell formed Jebediah in Perth with his older brother and two friends Chris Daymond and Vanessa Thornton. Mitchell assumed vocal and rhythm guitar duties, and they played cover songs by bands such as Green Day and The Smashing Pumpkins. As Jebediah's popularity grew they competed in the Australian National Campus Band Competition and won the national final in Lismore, New South Wales.[11] The success achieved in the campus competition led to an opening slot on the 1996 Australian music festival Summersault—run by promoter Steve Pavlovic—and Jebediah performed alongside groups such as the Beastie Boys, Foo Fighters and Sonic Youth.[11]

Jebediah signed with Murmur Records (a subsidiary label of Sony Music) in 1996 and the band also won its first WAMi award for 'Best Stage Presence' that year. Then in 1997, the band's first single "Jerks of Attention" earned the band a WAMi award for 'Most Popular Song' and the band also won the 'Most Popular Band' award.[citation needed] Performances at Homebake and the Big Day Out, in addition to support shows for Soundgarden, Everclear, The Presidents of the United States of America, Silverchair and You Am I, further raised the band's profile.[citation needed]

In 1997 the band released their first album Slightly Odway—the album peaked at #7 on the ARIA Albums Chart and remained in the chart for 54 weeks.[1] Slightly Odway was certified double platinum in 1998 by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[12] The follow-up album Of Someday Shambles was recorded in 1999 and the first single "Animal" peaked at #16 on the ARIA Singles Chart,[1] while the album peaked at #2 on the ARIA Albums Chart;[1] Of Someday Shambles eventually earned a platinum certification from ARIA.[13]

Jebediah then released the single "Fall Down" in 2001, in anticipation of the self-titled album that was released in the following year, and the song peaked at #24 on the ARIA Singles Chart, while the album reached #8 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[1] Their fourth album Braxton Hicks was released in 2004 on the band's own licensing label Redline Records, which ceased operations in 2011. Following Braxton Hicks, Jebediah embarked on a hiatus, providing Mitchell with the time to focus on his solo work, and returned in 2011 for the release of the fifth studio album Kosciuszko.

In a March 2013 radio interview, Mitchell stated that his fellow Jebediah band members "kind of put up with him [Bob Evans]; they tolerate him. Ahh ... You know, I think they understand why he's around, and why he needs to do what he does ... but sometimes i think they look at him with a sort of sense of bemusement." In relation to their musical activities, Mitchell explained that "they 'moonlight' in other local Perth outfits."[14]

Bob Evans[edit]

Mitchell, performing as Bob Evans in 2009

Mitchell performs his solo work under the pseudonym of "Bob Evans"[15]—Mitchell created the name in 1999 for the purpose of playing incognito solo shows in Perth[4] and chose the name "because it was written on a T-shirt I was wearing".[16] Mitchell further explained in 2013, “It was just a way to be incognito, to separate myself from Jebediah. I had to create this kind of pseudonym so I could do things without people really knowing about it and having expectations about it."[17] As Bob Evans, Mitchell consistently concludes written communication with the signatures "XXXBOBXXX" or "XXXbobXXX", akin to SMS language.[18][19][20][21][22]

2003–2009: Suburban Kid, Suburban Songbook, Goodnight, Bull Creek![edit]

Mitchell's debut album Suburban Kid was released in 2003 on Redline Records and was described in one review as "an album of youthful introspection, love and loss"—[23] the album was later acquired by EMI following Mitchell's transition to the music company.[24] Mitchell recorded Suburban Kid at the home studio of fellow Perth musician Simon Struthers, who was the bassist for Adam Said Galore at the time; Struthers was also the album's producer. The song "The Hermit" was co-written with another Perth musician Luke Steele (The Sleepy Jackson, Empire of the Sun), while Steele's sister Katy Steele (Little Birdy) contributed backing vocals to the album.[citation needed]

Mitchell revealed in August 2014, as part of Double J's 'Artist In Residence' series, that the 2004 Streets album, A Grand Don't Come for Free, was a major influence on his subsequent lyrical work for both Jebediah and Bob Evans. Mitchell described Mike Skinner's lyrics as "folk poetry".[25]

Mitchell's second Bob Evans studio album Suburban Songbook was released in 2006. Mitchell sent the demo version of the album to record producers who he was interested in and was surprised by the immediate response from American producer Brad Jones (Josh Rouse, Yo La Tengo, Sheryl Crow): "Normally when you send a demo to a producer overseas you are lucky to even hear back. Within a month of him hearing the demos I was on a plane to Nashville to begin recording. The whole process seemed blessed."[26] Jones embraced Mitchell’s vision for the album and also suggested a more refined, listener-friendly approach.[27]

Suburban Songbook was eventually released on 10 June 2006 and debuted at #15 on the ARIA Albums Charts.[28] The first single from the album was "Don't You Think It's Time", which was accompanied by a music video in which a mural is painted of Mitchell and his wife, and this was followed by the Nowhere Without You EP. The album led to Mitchell's first ARIA Award, winning in the 'Adult Contemporary' category.

Reflecting on the album in 2010, Mitchell said: "Everything off Suburban Songbook is very special to me because it documents a watershed moment in my life, both personally and professionally, that will never happen again."[29]

For his third Bob Evans album Goodnight, Bull Creek!, Mitchell recorded in Nashville again, with Jones enlisted again as the producer and singer-songwriter Melissa Mathers hired as a backing vocalist. According to Mitchell, the album is the final instalment in his suburban musical trilogy: "The title is referring to me saying farewells, as I said with the last record that I would only do one more suburban record as part of the trilogy. Ironically, this record isn't very suburban at all though; not nearly as much as the last one. But it is the end of the chapter."[30] Goodnight, Bull Creek! was released on 3 April 2009 and debuted at number 22 on the ARIA Albums Chart.[31]

2009 onward: Basement Birds, return to Jebediah, Familiar Stranger[edit]

Following Mitchell's commitments for Goodnight Bull Creek!, he completed an album with side project Basement Birds, and rejoined Jebediah for the recording of Kosciuzko and corresponding tour dates. Mitchell explained in 2013:

I needed a break, I felt like I’d reached the end of the road a bit, with what I was doing with Bob. I felt like I’d gone as far as I could or wanted to go with that style of music that I was making… it had been pretty much a ten-year, three-album road that I’d walked down, I definitely felt like I needed a break so that I could refresh and do something new.[17]

In 2011 Mitchell was asked to list his favourite ten songs of the year and "Bronte" by Gotye, "Perfection" by Adalita, "Broken Songs" by Jim Ward and "Design Desire" by Abbe May were included in his selection.[32]

During this period, Mitchell also participated in a series of mid-2012 events that were produced by 3RRR, a community radio station based in Melbourne, Australia. The series, entitled "The Story So Far … ", featured musicians such as Mitchell and Tim Rogers (You Am I) as they relayed their experiences to audiences from within the framework of a professional music career. Mitchell's baby daughter attended the event, which was held at the Bella Union venue in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton, and performed acoustic versions of "Don't You Think It's Time" and "Someone So Much".[33] In a review of the event, journalist Natalie Salvo wrote:

Mitchell proved to be a great interviewee. He was open, candid and animated. Showing he’s a real romantic at heart, he offered tender responses (like wishing he’d had the opportunity to have a beer with his late father) plus light and funny anecdotes too. The latter included talk about learning jazz ballet as a child (complete with an impromptu demonstration) and meeting Lily Allen at the Sydney Big Day Out.[33]

Following the completion of touring for Kosciuzko, Mitchell commenced writing for the fourth Bob Evans album in his new home of Melbourne, Australia.[34] Mitchell proceeded to amass a total of 40 songs in preparation for the album, while also fathering a baby daughter (Mitchell's first child); however, he explained in a December 2012 interview: "I was very determined not to overdo that side of things. There is a song there, but you wouldn't necessarily know it's about my baby." In the same interview, the songwriter stated: "This time, for the first time, I put the songs in order before we started recording and kept that order in mind because I wanted to make a soundtrack to the movie in my brain."[35] On 4 August 2012, Mitchell uploaded a photograph of a sound mixing desk onto his Facebook fan page, without any accompanying text, implying that he had entered the recording stage of the fourth album.

In late 2012 Mitchell began progressively posting lyrical excerpts on the Bob Evans Facebook fan page—it became evident in October 2012 that the lyrics were taken from the fourth album's first single release. On 15 October 2012, Mitchell appeared on Australian national radio station Triple J, as part of the Breakfast with Tom and Alex show, to feature the song "Don't Wanna Grow Up Anymore". Mitchell revealed in the corresponding interview that Joey Waronker, a member of Atoms For Peace and Beck's backing band, played drums on the album.[36]

On 15 October 2012, the Bob Evans website announced a national tour and the release date of The Double Life EP (9 November 2012).[37] Producer Dean Reid (Marina and the Diamonds, Mystery Jets) was enlisted for the recording of both the EP and the album (recorded at Sing Sing Studios in Richmond, Victoria, Australia, the studio where Jebediah recorded their first two albums),[38] and he also contributed guitar, keyboards and programming.[39]

A music video for "Don't Wanna Grow Up Anymore" was released on 26 October 2012 and premiered on the Channel V programme WTF. The video was directed by Darcy Prendergast of Melbourne, Australia company "Oh Yeah Wow"; Prendergast also filmed video footage of Mitchell during the recording process. Prendergast has been involved with projects for other bands, such as Eskimo Joe and British India, and received acclaim for the short clay animation film Ron the Zookeeper.[40][41][42][43][44] Mitchell explained in a December 2012 interview that the music video was inspired by the music video for the Smashing Pumpkins song "1979".[35]

Mitchell explained during an "Unplugged and Wired" performance for Google+ on 28 November 2012 that the "Double Life" title applied to his concurrent work with Jebediah, as well as his new role as father and husband; this was later reaffirmed in a December 2012 interview with the Australian newspaper Herald Sun.[35][45] On a musical level, Mitchell revealed in a January 2013 interview that Familiar Stranger is a progression beyond what can be heard in his previous work: “I don’t sit and listen to alt-country and folk music all day anymore…if I had made another record with the same sort of musical pallet as the last two I would have been forcing it”. Mitchell further explained that Goldfrapp, Santigold, Wilco and Spoon were some of his key musical interests during the creation of the fourth album.[17] Longtime Australian radio announcer Richard Kingsmill, of Triple J, featured a preview of Familiar Stranger on 3 February 2013.[46]

On 25 January 2013, Mitchell announced that a limited number of vinyl copies of the fourth album would be released. Mitchell explained, "I love vinyl. I love smelling it the first time its unsheathed from its wrapper. I love the sound the needle makes as it goes around and around", and stated that a "small number" of copies would be manufactured by record label EMI.[18]

Filming for the second music video of the fourth album—for the song "Go"—occurred on 4 February 2013.[47] "Go" was the second single release from Familiar Stranger and features backing vocals from Scarlett Stevens of the Australian band San Cisco.[48] The music video for "Go" was published on the 'BobEvansMusic' YouTube channel on 7 February 2013 and Mitchell revealed after the completion of filming:

Spent all day at the beach shooting the video for "Go" today and I am exhausted and have sunburn for the first time in years. I wasn't really built for the beach. Still, I'm hoping that very fact will result in some humorous footage. I spent a good portion of the day laughing so hopefully you guys will too when you see it in the next few weeks.[49]

Following the publication of the "Go" music video, Mitchell released a video parody, entitled "Bob Evans' Big Pre-album interview", on the BobEvansMusic channel on 10 February 2013. The video depicts Mitchell and Prendergast in a spoof community television interview in which three young children are the hosts. The video contrasts Mitchell, who is portrayed as a musician who is taking himself seriously, against the three children, who frolic and enjoy themselves. The songs "Get It Together", "I Don't Wanna Grow Up Anymore", "Go" and "Footscray Park" appear in the video.[50]

The "Go" music video was first published on 24 February 2013 and contains a cameo appearance by Tim Rogers, who portrays the "cool" nemesis of Mitchell's goofy and unlucky character.[51] The filming of the music video was undertaken at Altona Beach in the western Melbourne suburb of Altona[52] and Prendergast's Oh Yeah Wow film production company was once again involved.[53]

Further insight into the fourth album was revealed on 18 February 2013, as Mitchell posted a link for a brief interview that he conducted with Triple J. Mitchell explains in the interview that, while the previous two albums are "Nashville-sounding", for Familiar Stranger he sought to "make a record that sounded like an awesome version of my garage." Mitchell also announced the participation of guest singer Dune (pseudonym for Jade McRae) who had not been discussed prior to the interview. In terms of inspiration, Mitchell cryptically stated that the album was about his "recent run ins with the universe, taking away and giving back."[54]

As further promotion, a live version of a song entitled "Wonderful You" was published on the Bob Evans YouTube channel—the video of the performance was recorded at the Annandale Hotel, a well-known pub and live music venue[55] in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Annandale.[56]

On 13 March 2013, two days before the album's release date, the album was streamed by the "FasterLouder" website—the article that accompanied the stream explained that:

Familiar Stranger was recorded at Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne throughout 2012 and was mixed by Scott Horscroft (Empire Of The Sun, The Sleepy Jackson) and Tony Buchen (Bluejuice, Phrase) who also played bass. Atoms for Peace and Ultraista drummer Joey Waronker, who has played with Beck, Air, Paul McCartney and The Smashing Pumpkins, was invited to play drums on the album and made the trip especially to Melbourne for the recording.[57]

In an interview with the AU review website, published on 7 March 2013, Mitchell provided further insight into his songwriting:

It’s important to not underestimate your listeners, the worst thing a band or musician can do is to think that their audience is less capable off themselves, because than you always write to the lowest common denominator and that is how you write shit music. But if you consider your audience to be highly intelligent, and highly capable of taking to musical journeys, than you’re always trying to write something above yourself and reach further. I think that’s really important. Expect the unexpected.[58]

Mitchell further explained in the AU review interview that the fourth album is intended as a complete departure from his previous work under the Evans moniker and that, while the previous two albums had a more organic feel due to the recording environment, Familiar Stranger embraced a "more synthetic background"—Mitchell affirmed: "I feel I have both feet firmly planted with that new direction and I’m really satisfied with that feeling."[58]

Under the Bob Evans moniker, Mitchell participated in the Townsville, Queensland and Adelaide, South Australia heats of the 'Telstra Road to Discovery' competition that encouraged "unsigned musical talent" from within Australia to enter. Mitchell played on 8 August and 17 August 2013 at Adelaide University and the Townsville Cultural Festival respectively.[59]

Writing for the AU review website, Jenni Kauppi credited Familiar Stranger with a "9.1 out of 10" score, stating that "Evans’ songwriting, forming the spinal column of the album, is as strong as ever, so while the production here is front and centre, a quintessentially gen-Y sound, it’s bona fide Evans."[60] The Australian website Watch Out For.com.au published a review by Chris Wood on 19 March 2013 and Wood writes that Mitchell's voice is used more as an instrument on the fourth album. Wood also states that the album consists of "the right balance of futuristic folk pop", but includes in the conclusion of the review: "Overall, Familiar Stranger is not completely immediate; it will definitely take a few rotations to ‘get on board’, so to speak."[61]

The album received the attention of Charter, the monthly flagship publication of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia[62] and was reviewed by Andy McLean in the February 2013 edition. McLean praised the album, comparing the music to Teenage Fanclub and Big Star, and concluded his review by asserting that "Mitchell has embraced his maturity and turned it into an advantage".[63] Writing for the Australian music website The Music.com.au, Paul Barbieri distinguished the album from Mitchell's previous Bob Evans work by highlighting the more substantial production value on Familiar Stranger. Barbieri praises the album and concludes his review with the statement: "Some of the later tracks, like the almost six-minute "[Nothing's Gonna Save Us] From Ourselves", seem to plod a little, but this is a minor gripe for what’s otherwise a great leap forward."[64]

Touring[edit]

As Bob Evans, Mitchell supported Evermore on the band's "Welcome to the Real Life" tour of Australia and New Zealand, and this was followed by numerous festival performances: the 2007 Big Day Out tour, Homebake, the West Coast Blues & Roots Festival and The Great Escape festival. Mitchell also played showcases in New York, US and Johannesburg, South Africa, before undertaking a national tour with Machine Translations and South African solo artist Farryl Purkiss.[65][66]

In April 2009, Mitchell commenced a national tour to promote the release of Goodnight, Bull Creek! and was joined by Malcolm Clark (Sleepy Jackson), Hugh Jennings (End of Fashion), Ben Witt (The Chemist) and Louis Macklin (67 Special), while America's Steve Poltz (The Rugburns) was the support act. Mitchell also returned to Europe and played shows in London, UK and Sweden, with the latter show in support of Melbourne, Australia band Architecture in Helsinki.[67][68] In July 2009, Mitchell played the Splendour in the Grass festival in Byron Bay, Australia and, together with his backing band from 2009, he was then the support act for Eskimo Joe on the Inshalla national tour.[69][70]

During December 2011, in the period leading up to the Christmas holiday, Mitchell embarked on a tour of the east coast of Australia with fellow Australian musician Adalita Srsen[71] (the pair had also toured together with their bands Jebediah and Magic Dirt). Entitled "Good Evans it's Xmas", the tour featured the pair performing a rendition of "Must Be Santa",[72] a song that had also been covered by Bob Dylan in 2009.[73]

In October 2012, following the release of the first single from Mitchell's fourth solo album, a national Australian tour was announced (presented by Spotify, Select Music and Catherine Haridy Management).[38] The main support act for the tour was Thelma Plum, a folk musician from Queensland, Australia (Plum was a participant in the 'Unearthed' project that is organised by Triple J).[37]

On 14 December 2012, Mitchell announced that he would be performing at the 2013 Tamworth Country Music Festival — the 2013 appearance represented Mitchell's third consecutive performance at the festival under the Bob Evans moniker and the musician proclaimed "I fricken love going to Tamworth and urge anyone within road trip distance to come along for the weekend." In previous years Mitchell played with a backing band that included fellow Australian musicians Ashley Naylor (Even) and Roderick "Wally Meanie" Kempton (The Meanies).[74][75] At the 2011 festival, Mitchell performed a duet with Australian country music artist Kirsty Lee Akers who had discovered Mitchell during his supporting tour with Australian country music artist Keith Urban—Akers explained on stage that, prior to the Urban tour, she had repeatedly heard a Bob Evans song at a shopping centre without knowing the name of the artist responsible. The pair performed a rendition of the John Prine song "In Spite of Ourselves".[76]

The first national Australian Familiar Stranger tour was announced on 11 February 2013—the tour commenced on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland on 11 April 2013 and finished in rural Victoria on 18 May 2013 in Meeniyan. Mitchell was supported by a band named Tigertown, winners of the Unearthed competition, and Davey Lane, from Australian band You Am I.[48] A second, larger national tour of Australia commenced in April 2013, following the release date of the fourth album, and Mitchell revealed that his backing band consisted of Malcolm Clarke, Davey Lane, James Fleming and Tony Buchen (Buchen also assisted with the mixing of the album and is a friend of Waronker[77]); Tigertown returned as the backing band for the larger tour.[2] The backing band published a YouTube video in April 2013 entitled "Bob Evans band like to party clip".[78]

The 'Welcome Stranger' solo tour was announced in mid-July 2013 and Mitchell revealed that the 16-date capital city tour would be completed as a "road trip": "I will literally be getting in the car and driving from town to town on my lonesome in good old fashion road trip style which is something I've never really done before, (I pretty much just want to be Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart for a few weeks)."[79][80] Mitchell donated a sum of A$214.75 to the Australian Red Cross following the tour, using donations that he collected at the merchandise desk throughout the tour.[81]

Cover versions[edit]

Mitchell has recorded numerous cover versions as part of his work with Jebediah and as Bob Evans. Jebediah recorded: a version of Midnight Oil's "When the Generals Talk" for the tribute album The Power and the Passion; a rendition of Something For Kate's "Clint", for the Harpoon EP[82] (Something For Kate recorded a cover version of "Harpoon" for the EP); a version of Flock of Seagulls' "I Ran", also for the Harpoon EP;[83] and a rendition of "Pace It", a song by Magic Dirt—a band from Geelong, Australia that Jebediah greatly admire—appears on the Gleesides and Sparities compilation album.[84]

In 2006, as a follow-up to the Suburban Songbook album, Mitchell released an EP of cover versions that solely featured the work of fellow Perth artists and was only available in a digital format. Mitchell recorded renditions of Little Birdy's "Beautiful to Me", The Triffids' "Wide Open Road", The Sleepy Jackson's "Come to This", Eskimo Joe's "Liar" and Red Jezabel's "See Through Dress". The cover image that accompanied the digital download was a photograph of Mitchell that was similar to the images that are featured in the Suburban Songbook CD booklet. Writing for the FasterLouder website, Lilbirdy stated that the EP's results are "by and large pleasing" and "is a superb retrospective of West Australian music".[85]

In 2007 a Go-Betweens tribute album, entitled Write Your Adventures Down, featured a Bob Evans rendition of the song "Streets of Your Town"[86] and Mitchell subsequently performed the song as part of a tribute concert that was recorded by the television department of Triple J.[87] Mitchell performed at a Bob Dylan tribute concert in 2012, where he co-performed "Tambourine Man" and "If Not For You",[88] and he was also invited to participate in a Paul Kelly tribute event, where he delivered solo versions of "From St Kilda to King's Cross" and "Love Never Runs On Time".[89]

Under the Bob Evans moniker, Mitchell has performed for Triple J segment "Like A Version" on several occasions: his Little Birdy cover, from the Stolen Songbook EP, was one of the contributions;[90] Lily Allen's "Not Fair" was performed in 2011 (the rendition was also performed in subsequent live shows);[91] and, on the first day of March 2013, for the 'O Week' event that is run by Australia's universities, Mitchell played a cover version of Santigold's "Disparate Youth".[92]

During Bob Evans tours, Mitchell has performed renditions of the Hal David and Burt Bacharach song "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head",[93][94] and he has also attached excerpts from the Eric Clapton song "Tears in Heaven" and Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay" onto the end of his own songs.[95] Mitchell also performed a live version of The Beatles song "Two of Us" with Josh Pyke during a tour with the Sydney, Australia artist,[96] and again paid tribute to The Beatles with a live rendition of "Taxman" at the Splendour in the Grass festival in 2009.[70]

In solo mode, Mitchell has also performed numerous cover versions as a part of his appearances on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) programme RockWiz—the performances feature the support of the RockWiz house band. In 2011 a video was published onto YouTube that featured Mitchell and Katy Steele's rendition of The Louvin Brothers' "You're Learning".[97]

Collaborations[edit]

For the debut Bob Evans record, Mitchell co-wrote "The Hermit" with Luke Steele, while Steele's sister Katy Steele performed backing vocals on the song "Ode to My Car". In 2008 Mitchell performed with Simon Day, formerly of the Australian band Ratcat, at the Oxford Art Factory venue in Sydney, Australia and later revealed in an interview that the first recording that he ever purchased was Ratcat's Tingles EP.[98]

Mitchell was one of the "Friends" who appeared on an edition of Triple J's 'Live At The Wireless' segment, in which You Am I collaborated with artists such as Mitchell, Adalita, Tex Perkins and Bernard Fanning—Mitchell provided vocals on the songs "Berlin Chair" and "If We Can't Get It Together".[99]

Mitchell worked with Melissa Mathers on Suburban Songbook—Mathers performed backing vocals on the songs "Hand Me Downs" and "Wintersong". Mitchell was asked by Australian country musician Kirsty Lee Akers to perform a duo of the John Prine song "In Spite of Ourselves" at the 2010 Tamworth Country Music Festival, and a music video of the duet was also produced.[76][100]

Bob Dylan tribute[edit]

Alongside fellow Australian musicians Kavyen Temperley (Eskimo Joe), Pyke, Holly Throsby and Patience Hodgson, Mitchell performed a series of tribute shows in commemoration of Bob Dylan's 50th anniversary as a songwriter. The "one-off" group performed shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and at the Splendour in the Grass festival.[101]

Basement Birds[edit]

Following his commitments for Goodnight Bull Creek, Mitchell embarked on a recording and touring project with the Basement Birds—a side project with Temperley, Pyke and Steve Parkin.[102] The four musicians recorded and released a self-funded album and completed a national tour in support of the album. The process that was undertaken by the group of friends was unique for the Australian music industry, as explained on the Australian independent music website Soulshine: "In an Australian first, their music will be unveiled in four 3 track bundles fortnightly on iTunes from late June 2010. As well as this, there will be acoustic versions of each track released every alternate fortnight and exclusive content available for fans via the new website ...".[103] The album features the backing vocals of Julia Stone,[104] from successful Australian band Angus & Julia Stone, on a song called "Bus Stop" that was written by Pyke and Mitchell.[105]

Internet-based collaborations[edit]

Mitchell performed Bob Evans songs for a MySpace event that was held in Melbourne, Australia in 2008; Mitchell was joined on stage by drummer Clarke.[citation needed]

Following his signing with booking agent Select Music, Mitchell also signed with Internet music venture Spotify in mid-2012. As part of Mitchell's collaboration with Spotify, he has posted articles, such as 'The Music I Love', on the company's website and Spotify were one of the sponsors on the 'Double Life' tour.[106]

On 29 November 2012, Mitchell performed for a Google+ event that was entitled 'Hangout on Air'. Following his performance, Mitchell answered live questions from people who had logged into their Google accounts to view the event; the event was also uploaded to YouTube, thereby allowing access to people who were unable to view the performance live.[107]

Mitchell's song, "Don't You Think It's Time", from the Suburban Songbook album, was selected for a new Telstra initiative in June 2014 that was primarily conducted on the Internet. The collaboration was a competition in which Australian musicians, who were not signed to a music company at the time of submission, were invited to submit their version of the song to see if the composition can reach the "number one" position on the Australian singles chart; hence, the title "2nd Chance Song". EMI, the music company that Mitchell remains signed with, was responsible for recording and distributing the winning entry. Four other Australian artists—Sheppard,[108] Megan Washington,[109] Luke and Katy Steele,[110] and Illy[111]—recorded versions of the song for the competition, which can all be seen on the YouTube video-sharing platform. When the song was originally released, it reached the 22nd position on the Australian singles chart and was responsible for launching Mitchell's solo career.[112]

Media appearances[edit]

Mitchell has appeared on the Australian television programmes The Glasshouse,[113] The Merrick & Rosso Show,[98] Spicks and Specks and RocKwiz.[114] Mitchell has also undertaken live performances on RockWiz and a solo performance of "Hand Me Downs" appears in an episode that was published onto YouTube in March 2011.[97][115]

In March 2010, Mitchell appeared as a guest presenter on triple j as a substitute for 'Morning Show' host Zan Rowe, who was attending the South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Conference in Austin, Texas, US.[116][117] Mitchell was then selected as one of the musician presenters for triple j's Dig Music initiative, launched in late 2013—his first broadcast was aired on 5 November 2013 and included his top five live music experiences.[118]

Mitchell was invited to write a three-part article for The Music.com.au website in 2013. Entitled 'The Life & Times Of Bob Evans', the series is a collection of whimsical reflections from Mitchell, who shares his insights into human life from the perspective of an Australian musician.[10][119][120] Mitchell appeared with a backing band to perform the Bob Evans song "Go" on the Weekend Sunrise television programme in March 2013.[121]

Alongside Srsen, Mitchell was selected by Australia's Double J radio station for the August 2014 "Artist in Residence" role. Mitchell and Srsen will present two Sunday episodes individually throughout August, and will then co-present the final episode, "Unforgettable Opening Lines", on 31 August. The Artist in Residence episodes air on Sunday and Mitchell's individual episodes are titled "Love & Lust" and "The End".[122]

National Office for Live Music[edit]

Following his return to the role of Australian Prime Minister in early July 2013, Kevin Rudd announced the formation of the National Office for Live Music on the day after attending a fundraiser for the SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music) campaign. The announcement explained that "ambassadors" would represent live music in their respective states, with Mitchell appointed as the Victorian representative. Mitchell stated as part of the announcement: "When I first started playing music with Jebediah in Perth in 1995 we never talked about making records, we just dreamed of playing gigs at all our favourite venues that we'd gone to see our favourite bands play in before us."[123]

Mitchell further explained the initiative in an October 2013 radio interview, in which he stated that his duties in the role will be "pretty basic":

It will do a number of things, but one of the things it will do is help small venues with all these ridiculous laws and things that they've been struggling with for years, and why so many venues have been closing down ... This just kind of pulls everything into focus, I think—it will tackle things nationally and, I think, will protect the arts and live performance community in Australia[124]

Reflections[edit]

Mitchell has explained in regard to the Evans pseudonym: "I think Bob Evans is more me than Kevin Mitchell from Jebediah is! In that way it’s like a reverse alter-ego. It just allows me to push things a bit. Bob’s been enough under the radar to give me, creatively, a lot more freedom than I might otherwise have."[125] When asked later for the meaning of the term "reverse alter-ego", he said: “I've no idea, that's one of those quotes that I've been haunted by.”[126]

Mitchell's original intention for the Bob Evans persona was to record a trilogy of suburban-themed solo albums and, following the completion of that objective, he admitted that an era of his life had ended:

I'll run Bob into the ground on this record and do as much work as I can, and do as many tours and as many festivals as I can into next year. Then I'm going to give him a break and do another Jebediah record and do some collaborative stuff with other people. Then after doing a few different things, I'll come back and see what I do next. I do like the idea of it just being a three album journey. I don't have any sort of fear of just starting all over again under a different name, or in a different... whatever.[127]

In a radio interview with Julian Morrow on Australia's Radio National station, Mitchell revealed his admiration for Yoko Ono. As the show was broadcast on 8 March 2013, International Women's Day, Morrow asked Mitchell about a favoured female musician and Ono was presented as a selection that came to mind at the time of the interview. Mitchell stated that he respected the manner in which Oko has maintained John Lennon's legacy and referred to her "credibility".[14] As part of the Radio National interview, Mitchell also shared reflections of his music career:

I still love touring ... I've been doing it constantly for over 15 years now, so it's become one of those things that's familiar to me now, for better or for worse, it's what's normal ... So I do still enjoy it [touring] and I miss it when I'm not doing it. The recording side of things, I've grown to love. When I first started making records, I ... had no idea what I was doing, basically, and it's something that I've had to learn ... I think I'm only just starting to get good at it, after, you know, many, many attempts.[14]

Accolades and awards[edit]

Suburban Songbook won the 2006 ARIA Music Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album and Mitchell/Evans received a nomination for Best Male Artist.[128] The album was also nominated for the 2006 Australian Music Prize and the 2006 J Award.[citation needed]

At the 2007 WAMi awards, Mitchell was nominated for two awards—'Most Popular Album' and 'Best Commercial Pop Act'—while participants in the 2007 Rolling Stone annual readers poll selected Mitchell as 'Best Male Artist'. "Pasha Bulker", the second song that was released from Goodnight Bull Creek, won in the 'Best Pop/Top 40 Artist' category in the 2007 International Songwriting Award competition (the judging panel consisted of artists such as Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), Frank Black (Pixies), Robert Smith (The Cure) and Tom Waits)—other winners for that year were The Living End and Sarah Blasko.[129][130]

Together with Akers, Mitchell won the 'Best Video Clip' award at the 2010 Australian Country Music People's Choice Awards—the video featured puppet representations of the two musicians that were in the style of The Muppets.[100][131]

In mid-August 2013, Mitchell was a 'First Longlist' finalist for the 9th Coopers AMP, alongside artists such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Drones. The Australian music prize is worth A$30,000 and the 2013 winner will be announced in March 2014.[132] Familiar Stranger also received an ARIA Award nomination in the Best Adult Contemporary category on 15 October 2013.[133]

Personal life[edit]

Mitchell married long-term girlfriend Kristen in November 2006[134] and in December 2008 they moved from Perth to Melbourne, Australia.[3] As of June 2014, Mitchell and Kristen are the parents of two daughters, Ella Jean and Ivy, and reside on the Bellarine Peninsula of Victoria, Australia, after residing for a period of time in the mid-western Melbourne suburb of Deer Park.[77][135] Mitchell explained the coastal relocation on social media in late May 2014: "I've left the Melbourne suburbs and moved to the coast so I can re enact all my favourite scenes from the ABC [television] show "Sea Change" and write an album full of earnest beach funk tunes.".[136]

Speaking on his personal life in 2013, prior to the release of Familiar Stranger, Mitchell jokingly revealed in an interview that "I have zero social life. I have no hobbies, I have nothing else except making music and being a father”.[17]

During an appearance on the television show The Merrick & Rosso Show, Mitchell was completely surprised by the topic of the 'Cosby Dance' due to the very personal nature of the subject matter. Mitchell eventually performed the dance for the audience, but reiterated in a subsequent interview that he could not believe that the topic had moved beyond his inner friendship circle.[98]

Following an 'Unplugged and Wired' performance for Google+ on 28 November 2012, Mitchell revealed during a question-and-answer session that his ideal dinner guests would be Ricky Gervais, for laughter; Barack Obama, for intellectual discussion; and his wife, so that he could share the moment with a loved one.[45]

In a March 2013 radio interview, Mitchell explained that, although his wife joined him during the Bob Evans touring process for a while, his family does not typically accompany him on tours. Mitchell stated: "If I was more popular and I toured with a certain level of comfort, then it might be an option."[14]

Discography[edit]

All releases are under his pseudonym Bob Evans, for work with his band see the Jebediah discography
Bob Evans discography
Releases
Studio albums 4
EPs 3
Singles 10

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions
AUS
[137]
2003 Suburban Kid
  • Released: 8 September 2003
  • Label: Redline RED020
  • Format: CD
2006 Suburban Songbook 15
2009 Goodnight, Bull Creek! 22
2013 Familiar Stranger 31
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Extended plays[edit]

Year EP details Peak chart positions
AUS
[137]
2006 Nowhere Without You EP
  • Released: 2 September 2006
  • Label: EMI Music Australia Pty Limited
  • Format: Digital download
2006 Stolen Songbook EP
  • Released: 2 December 2006
  • Label: EMI Music Australia Pty Limited
  • Format: Digital download
2012 The Double Life EP
  • Released: 9 November 2012
  • Label: EMI Music Australia Pty Limited5099972160428
  • Format: CD, digital download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Singles[edit]

Year Song Peak chart positions Album
AUS
[137]
2003 "Friday Come Five" Suburban Kid
"Turn"
2006 "Don't You Think It's Time" 22 Suburban Songbook
2007 "Friend"
"Sadness and Whiskey"
2009 "Someone So Much" Goodnight, Bull Creek!
"Pasha Bulker"
"Hand Me Downs"
2012 "Don't Wanna Grow Up Anymore" Familiar Stranger
2013 "Go"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]