October 18, 2020

It might be easiest to describe vocalist and musician Tony Mitchell as a rock and roll journeyman as he seems to have been involved in many projects either to a greater or lesser extent. He was the singer and songwriter in Kiss Of The Gypsy, a band formed in Fleetwood by Mitchell and friends and, although they only released just the one self-titled album of blues influenced melodic rock, it did garner rather favourable reviews. He has performed with Rick Wakeman (on Return To The Centre Of The Earth), played guitar for Alice Cooper, Jon Anderson, Alan Parsons Project, Tony Hadley and It Bites on the British Rock Symphony South American tour 2000, had a year as a member of Stealers Wheel as well as a member of Kingdom Of Deadmen and Dirty White Boyz. He is another of those countless and generally unnamed musicians quietly working away in the background for other musicians as well as TV and media work and also releasing the odd solo album or two. Now we come to Mitchell’s latest solo work, an epic and life affirming melodic rock masterpiece of immense proportions.

The album consists of thirteen tracks making sixty four minutes of high energy AOR and it seems he started off with twenty eight songs and whittled them down to the thirteen that we have here, Hopefully, this means that there is another albums worth of material waiting to be put together, only time will tell on this one. Mitchell supplies the voice, guitars and keyboards and is more than ably supported by a quality cast of musicians in Paul Hume (Demon/Lawless/Dirty White Boyz) on lead guitar with Tim Manford (Dante Fox) supplying lead on the tracks Living on the Run, Electric, I Believe In Angels, Never Wanted Love and Sacrifice. Then he has Shawn Charvette on keyboards, Neil Ogden on drums with Nigel Bailey (Bailey/3 Lions/Dirty White Boyz) and Josh Williams on bass. He has also brought in Tyketto’s Danny Vaughn to sing on the track The Mighty Fall so the album has a hallmark of quality running through it.

This is an album for which Mitchell has pulled out all the stops and is a melodic rock extravaganza and deliberately not underplayed. The production is quite magnificent as there is so much happening yet all is clear and so well defined. Tony Mitchell has an amazing rock voice and you can see why he is so highly thought of by his peers and the levels of musicianship are of the highest order and then the guitar work quite literally blows your socks off! I had started to believe that you could not bring anything new to melodic rock or AOR but that is what Mitchell and his band have done here. A new, fresh and invigorating take that is simply epic in both scope and delivery with songs that are huge, riffs that are even bigger, more hooks than you could ever imagine and an anthemic feel throughout.

Church Of A Restless Soul is perhaps not as glossy or super slick in the way that the American giants revel in but it is an honest, true and very British album with just the right amount of grit and angst that we do perfectly on this little island of ours and that, ultimately, makes us what we are. If we have musicians who can produce albums like this then British rock is in a much better state than many would have us believe. Quite simply, melodic rock albums just do not come as big or as epic as this.

Church Of A Restless Soul track list

  1. Church Of A Restless Soul (4:40)
  2. Living On The Run (4:22)
  3. In & Out Of Love (4:29)
  4. The Mighty Fall (5:20)
  5. Electric (4:11)
  6. I Believe In Angels (5:09)
  7. Killing Me To Love You (6:35)
  8. Never Wanted Love (5:27)
  9. One Good Reason (5:11)
  10. Sacrifice (5:10)
  11. Shattered Dreams (3:55)
  12. Evil Woman (4:43)
  13. Heaven Is Falling (4:22)