Free Country (2022)
From the anthemic opening of ‘Australia’ to the loveable-larrikin humour of the finale, ‘The Land Up Over’, the latest album from Australian singer/songwriter, Ben Mitchell has a red-centre hot run at the gamut of what it is to grow up and live in the lucky country.
Mitchell has given it his all with ’Free Country’, a collection of country and Australiana tracks, taking a “full hearted crack to tap into the mighty spirit of a nation of many nations.”
“We have all been through so much over the last few years and when I was writing what became ‘Australia’ I realised I was writing a song that focussed on the best qualities and highest ideals of my fellow countrymen, women and children,” said Mitchell. “And no matter who or what may seek to uproot and divide us we are each and all connected by a profound and simple truth: where we live. Australia.”
While the lead single, ‘Australia’ is already getting an overwhelming positive response from across the country it is also striking a chord internationally, with one listener from afar commenting on Instagram, “What a magnificent song! I am crying as I listen to your heartfelt words. We are all one. Love from Canada”.
Produced and recorded at his home in the Northern Rivers of NSW, ‘Free Country’ features classic country songs like the title track, bush ballads about working on the land and even authentic bluegrass with Tamworth Country Music Festival Golden Guitar multi-award winner, Hamish Davidson from The Davidson Brothers, appearing on a number of tracks.
The crying pedal steel guitar on the opening aforementioned track, ‘Australia’ forges a nostalgic through-line which reverberates across the ten tracks which include banjo, electric blues guitar, slide acoustic, mandolin and some toe-tapping country fiddle.
These Old Blues (2022)
The blues hits so hard sometimes you can barely move. You can barely get out of bed. You can barely believe that things are going to get better. Ever. But they are. They do. And music, the blues, These Old Blues, reminds us of that. Sometimes there is hope even when there seems to be none. That’s the blues. That’s These Old Blues.
Are You Gonna Be Free? (2021)
“Where are all the great songs about what is happening in the world today? They are right here on this album. I grew up listening to Dylan, CSN, Neil Young etc this album sits right along side those artists. One classic song after another, My New Normal Is Love.” Andy (Instagram)
“Ben Mitchell has just released his brand new album and it’s absolutely EPIC.” Voin (Facebook)
Are You Gonna Be Free? is dedicated to the millions of freedom-loving truth seekers across this great big beautiful world who are standing up for their rights to live free, and to all the people of the world who are waking up from a deep sleep to replace the unconscious nightmare of our past with a conscious dream of our now.
Are you gonna be free?
Of course you are.
You are already.
Some To Give (2020)
Some To Give is an electric mix of garage blues, surf-swamp-rock and 1960s guitar-pop-rock. A classic 3-piece band album recorded live in two London studios circa 2003/2004 and featuring Ben Sargeant (The Script) on bass guitar and Pete Cuthbert (Rialto) on drums.
Slow Is The New Fast (2019)
“His fourth and finest album. Co-produced by Matt Walker, the sound is intimate and warm…This is a gentle record but it leaves a lasting impression.” Jeff Jenkins, THE MUSIC
“His voice is the real drawcard though. Warm and yearning, with just that right amount of ache and sweet serenade. Soulful country folk.” POST TO WIRE
“It’s a wonderful new album….He’s a beautiful songwriter and I’m loving his voice in these songs.” Elizabeth’s Turning Pages, 2NVR
“The ‘soulful country folk’ track features an acoustic melody with a sweet reverb and amazing vocals.” REIGNLAND MAG
Summer Lover (2016)
Each of the 14 tracks on Summer Lover received radio play before release on 21st June 2016. Listen to the album on Spotify.
“Another fine release and collection of songs from Ben that showcases his development as one of Melbourne’s emerging singer/songwriters.” NEIL ROGERS, 3RRR
“Ben has a rare talent! ‘Summer Lover’ took me way back to the summer of ’76—beautiful weather (6 months of constant sunshine), beautiful girls and beautiful times! He has several styles of play which stands him in good stead in this world of lacklustre mediocrity!” THE COUNT, WAY OUT RADIO (UK)
“Ocean Road is a new Ozzie anthem. Seriously can’t get enough of this song. I LOVE it! Makes me feel proud to be Aussie.” MISS FIORE (SOUTHERN FM)
“Ben Mitchell has released his new album “Summer Lover” just in time. It comes out June 21st, right in the middle of winter. It’s bright and breezy and warm and cozy all at the same time. It will do the job of getting us through the cooler months until things warm up again.
The lead track, “Ocean Road”, illustrates this point perfectly. The song is a loving ode to this great country of ours. Ben made a film clip to go with this song at one of my favorite parts – on the Great Ocean Road. The song draws out a feeling in the listener that we all know so well, heading out along that road (any road) to the beach and all the freedom and sense of adventure that might follow. You can almost smell the surf.
My two other favourite tracks are “Smooth Sailing” and “Tropical Holiday”. “Smooth Holiday” speaks of over coming bad times to find the people that make you a better person – “The world don’t seem so small when you’re connected”. On “Tropical Holiday” Ben sings about finding that love that “won’t fade like the sun” but “grow like a full moon in the dark night sky”. When you step out of the madness of daily life and stop to smell the roses, you can think about things like this.
Overall, on his third album, Ben Mitchell is going from strength to strength. Combine his songwriting skills with his sense for a tune and you’re on a winner. “Summer Lover” is the perfect antidote to the long winter months ahead. It will warm you soul and brighten your mood, all at the same time. What else could you ask for?”
MYLES O’NEILL SHAW, 3 PBS FM
Chance To Love (2015)
Four of the seventeen songs on Chance To Love album. Ben played every instrument, recorded and produced it himself in his home studio. Every song played on radio, with Beautiful Mess getting spins in Ireland and UK.
The Stars Can See (2006)
Recorded in London at Regal Lane, Toe Rag Studios, Air Studios and Mitchell’s bedsit in Leytonstone, The Stars Can See is his first release, distributed by MGM in 2006. It features Claire Worrall (Robbie Williams), Pete Cuthbert (Rialto) and Ben Sargeant (The Script).
“A Major Talent”
Melbourne is a city renowned for churning out musicians and its latest son – the unkempt looking Ben Mitchell – looks set to make his mark. After spending a few years in London where he gained some favourable publicity on the live circuit, Mitchell returned to his hometown to record ‘The Stars Can See,’ his debut long-player. As a first foray, it’s a remarkably confident record. Perhaps most surprising is that he has yet to be signed to a major label, but it is unlikely that he will remain homeless for long. Mitchell has a strong voice that adapts well to a number of styles, but it’s his song-writing skills that put him in a league above the litany of anonymous singer-songwriters vying for attention in the wake of the success of David Gray and James Blunt.
Opener ‘Go Now’ is a subdued minor-key ballad reminiscent of obscure Melbourne band Cordrazine but the mood is lightened considerably as Mitchell skips through the breezy ‘Your Hold is Strong.’ Soon, Mitchell sounds as if he’s captured the spirit of Alex Lloyd with ‘I Could Not Love You More,’ where reverb-laden vocals are driven by an ascending 1960’s-style guitar progression. After skipping over a couple of weaker tracks, we find the folky ‘The Stars Can See,’ the sultry ‘Everything’ and hip-cat ‘Kitty Kat’ which sounds like the sassier music used in Twin Peaks. The two closing tunes will appeal to Americana listeners; ‘Extra Mile’ is a sleepy number resplendent with subtle slide playing and woozy acoustic guitar picking reminiscent of Karma County. Yet Mitchell saves his best for last with ‘We Win and We Lose Some,’ a simple but beautiful song that James Blunt would give his eye-teeth to have written.
Kicking off a European tour in September, the singer is beating a well-trodden Antipodean path back to London. Mitchell sounds a major talent on this evidence and is well worth keeping an eye on.
Date review added: Friday, August 04, 2006
Reviewer: Nic Fildes
“Next Big Thing”
A certain soft David Gray warble to the voice, a hint of early Van in there too perhaps along with names like Ben Harper, Jeff Buckley and Jack Johnson, Melbourne singer-songwriter Mitchell’s getting feted as potential next big thing with this debut album.
It may be a bit early for that, but from the laid back soul flecked opener Go Now (which oddly sounds a bit like a medieval troubadour ballad in places) and the Johnson-like grooves of Your Hold Is Strong and a playful Cool And A Little Silly, it’s obvious he has the talent and the ability to make the grade.
Generally upbeat in its musings on life and love, it also shows Mitchell exploring the musical territory. Could Not Love You More posits a meeting point between the Beatles and Radiohead, Everything and Kitty Kat are both bluesy jazz numbers that respectively seem to tip the hat to Beck and Bobby Darin, while Moon Shine offers acoustic folk blues and the irresistible acoustic strummed Photo’s a nifty echo of the young James Taylor.
He closes up with the confidently relaxed country soul streaked We Win And We Lose Some, a beguilingly beautiful whole body massage of a song that guarantees we’ll be hearing a lot more from the lad in the months ahead.”
Mike Davies, NET RHYTHMS, November 2006)
“Just waiting for the right people and the big break”
Ben Mitchell is an Australian singer who lived in London for a while and got into the recording studio when he did. Mitchell is a sensitive man and sensitive men who write songs get compared to Jack Johnson and James Blunt these last few months. These aren’t really names the typical Americana fan gets into. It’s funny though that, for example James Blunt, before his big break, in a lot of reviews was compared to Elliot Smith – and a lot of people do get into that. This isn’t really the place to go deeper into that, but it does show that alternative fans don’t really like to hear their songs on Sky Radio.
The Stars Can See is still ‘alternative’. Now. No one (Major Label) owns it and on it we hear a singer/songwriter who shows his heart in an honest and sincere way in twelve different songs. Beautiful. Sensitive too. And yes, as a result you can compare it to Blunt and Johnson. And yes, there are songs on the album which can easily be big hits on the radio (and played on Arbeidsvitamine!).
He is an up-to-date singer-songwriter of folk-pop, with a sweet and passionate voice but something more happens here. Mitchell isn’t afraid of a big gesture. He never goes over the top yet he knows how to create theatre. At those moments (like in Superseeded or the soulful Everything) he reminds of Rufus Wainwright (or Jeff Buckley or even Antony). Look out for the dark jazzy love sing Kitty Kat. As enigmatic as Jim White can be – it is a striking highlight.
On most of the tracks Mitchell combines the intimacy of Damien Rice with the melody of David Gray. There is a lot to this Australian guy and lot has come out in The Stars Can See. Now it’s just waiting for the right people and the big break.
Patrick Donders, HANX