I challenge you to name four other words in the English language that carry more musical bias and preconceived notions than “small town blues rock”. Hearing those words strung together in the same sentence likely calls to mind a gaggle of guys in the midst of midlife crises covering their favourite bands in a burned-out bar every other Thursday and Saturday night.
That’s not at all what the Mitch Tones Band is. Yes, they’re a small town band (from Greenbank, Ontario, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it point on Highway 12 northwest of Port Perry), but one with a big sound. The Mitch Tones Band has a unique and polished approach that comes through very clearly on their self-titled EP. It’s an enthusiastic bundle of five songs that throws listeners back to a time when storytelling was a must in music. Each song has layers upon layers of carefully-curated effects, chords, rhythms, and accents that make each number a stand-out in its own right. Nothing gets lost in these songs either; the narrative stands strong amid a powerful instrumental section, and the added sound effects are exactly what would have otherwise been missing.
The Mitch Tones Band create stories that feel real. “Ropes Around Their Neck” could be part of a short, old western-style film, and it’s easy to imagine the setting, the characters, and the overall look and feel of the whole picture. The band has a way of setting the mood. “World of Trouble” and “Devil She Is” are more modern, but don’t spare the details. It’s so easy to imagine the different scenes from the movie “Johnny Blackgun”, from the prerequisite car chase, to the main character telling his girl to get out of danger, concluding with the epic duel at the end. “Not Waking Up” is the EP’s oddity; it’s a ballad that seems far more preoccupied with capturing emotion than it does about following a narrative. Just as well, it still has all the layers, details, and intensity that the other four songs have, but in a slightly different form.