Melbourne alt-country/Americana songwriter Mitch Dean released his debut solo album Holding Back The Levee last Friday.
“I wanted to make something that sounded like all the albums I love to listen to. From Neil Young through to The Jayhawks.”
Evocative storytelling, rich musicality and the heartfelt conveyance of human emotion. Those are some of the hallmarks of Holding Back The Levee. After the success of his Suburban Speakeasy EP (2017), Mitch has delved deeper into his creative well and crafted an album that blends soulful Americana from its key components of country, folk and the blues.
Mitch has clearly studied the masters and has a strong admiration for songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Gary Louris (The Jayhawks), Neil Young and Kevin Bennett. As such, it was clearly a thrill and honour to have Bennett sing guest vocals on the album title track.
“We (The Distance) used to support his band The Flood when they’d come to VIC for shows, and if we weren’t supporting we’d still go along to see him play. I’ve always kept in contract with KB over the years, he’s a great supporter of the next generation of songwriters and performers and he’s always been so encouraging. Years ago I asked him if I ever did an album would there be a chance he could sing on it and even after all these years he stayed true to his word and made it happen for me, he’s an absolute legend!”
“There’s a picket line on the lawn, families screaming, lives are torn”
‘A Face In A Long Line’ is the opening track, first single and video clip to be released (May 22nd) from Holding Back The Levee. With a country-rock sway featuring strummed acoustic guitars and bittersweet, aching harmonica, it finds Mitch showcasing the soaring, tender melodies that he invests in his music. It’s a song that documents hardship and paints the portrait of a worker seeking to look after their family as the world twists and turns around them. It’s the harsh anonymity of becoming a statistic in troubled times.
“‘A Face In A Long Line’ is one that I really loved for its overall sound, and it encapsulates all the things I was trying to reach for. The story it tells feels very relevant for what our country and the whole world is going through right now.”