11 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With a photograph of her father, Don Mitchell, gracing the cover of her fourth studio album and recurring lyrical narratives about the relationships between children and parents, it would seem that Anais Mitchell’s Young Man in America is veering into concept-album territory. The opening “Wilderland” starts with scratchy stringed instruments before trudging rhythms and hard-strummed guitars usher in what feels like the beginning of a storm. Mitchell’s spirited voice sings self-harmonies in haunting minor chords, as her lyrics describe how a mother must shelter her children while a father must shepherd them, because urban sprawls have become the new wilderness. This bleeds into the title track: a modern folk-rocker wrought with autobiographical lyrics of a hardscrabble upbringing punctuated by rootsy instruments and a lazy horn section. Though she’s garnered many comparisons to Ani DiFranco, here Mitchell's higher timbre inflects more like Victoria Williams, especially in the lilting “He Did” and in the moving “Shepherd,” based on a novel that her father wrote in his youth entitled The Souls of Lambs.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With a photograph of her father, Don Mitchell, gracing the cover of her fourth studio album and recurring lyrical narratives about the relationships between children and parents, it would seem that Anais Mitchell’s Young Man in America is veering into concept-album territory. The opening “Wilderland” starts with scratchy stringed instruments before trudging rhythms and hard-strummed guitars usher in what feels like the beginning of a storm. Mitchell’s spirited voice sings self-harmonies in haunting minor chords, as her lyrics describe how a mother must shelter her children while a father must shepherd them, because urban sprawls have become the new wilderness. This bleeds into the title track: a modern folk-rocker wrought with autobiographical lyrics of a hardscrabble upbringing punctuated by rootsy instruments and a lazy horn section. Though she’s garnered many comparisons to Ani DiFranco, here Mitchell's higher timbre inflects more like Victoria Williams, especially in the lilting “He Did” and in the moving “Shepherd,” based on a novel that her father wrote in his youth entitled The Souls of Lambs.

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