Anaïs Mitchell : Anaïs Mitchell Review
Anaïs Mitchell is a singer and songwriter that is based in Vermont. Mitchell’s Broadway musical Hadestown has received a Tony and Grammy award. She was named to TIME’s prestigious TIME100 list in 2020, and her first book, Working On A Song – The Lyrics of Hadestown, was published by Penguin/Plume in the same year. Dubbed by NPR as ‘one of the greatest songwriters of her generation;,’ Mitchell comes from the world of narrative folksong, poetry, and balladry. Her 2010 studio album, Hadestown, is a folk opera based on the Orpheus myth. She released Young Man in America in 2012, which was described by the UK’s Independent as ‘an epic tale of American becoming’; 2013’s Child Ballads, a collaboration with Jefferson Hamer, which won a BBC Radio Two Folk Award, and Bonny Light Horseman (as part of the band Bonny Light Horseman). Mitchell has headlined shows worldwide, and her music has featured in year-end best lists, including NPR, Wall Street Journal, MOJO, Uncut, Guardian, Sunday Times, and the Observer. Mitchell is now releasing Anais Mitchell (2022).
“Brooklyn Bridge” opens with haunting swelled guitar chords setting the tone for the ten tracks of beautifully constructed folk chamber music. The strings add drama as Mitchell’s captivating lyrics pull you along her character’s journey. The strings and saxophone continue to add texture to the song, and the arrangement develops to a stirring climax and is a fitting opener to the wonderful journey that is Anais Mitchell.
Mitchell’s lyrics are pulled in two directions throughout the album: backward to her younger self and ahead to the glorious future. She approaches her childhood with support and anxiety on “Little Big Girl.” Mitchell’s lyrics reflect challenges, fears, anger, and overcoming obstacles. Her honesty and emotion come through with every lyric and her expressive voice conveys sincerity.
Anais Mitchell brings many elements together to create a project that is a joy to explore and hear. Producer Josh Kaufman captures a profoundly warm and balanced sound that highlights Mitchell’s singing and moods. Anais Mitchell comes across as a very personal statement as she creates settings that make you feel and see each song’s adventure of tone and emotional complexities.
January 28, 2022