Anais Mitchell: “Young Man in America”

Anais Mitchell’s last album, a recording of her beautifully-conceived “folk opera” called Hadestown, was always going to be a tough act to follow; after all, in addition to being a one-of-a-kind recording featuring spot-on guest roles from Ani DiFranco, Justin Vernon, and Greg Brown, the album was just loaded with beautiful, evocative songs, telling a seamless story steeped in mythologies old and new. But Mitchell has followed it up as well as possible, I think, with a fine new record called Young Man in America. She’s wise enough not to do another folk opera, but this one is a very thematically focused work that’s not necessarily any less ambitious than the album that came before it. In fact, I’d say the music here is every bit as rich and beautiful, and there are some stand-alone tracks that are every bit as good as the standout  songs on Hadestown.

So another very lovely and distinguished recording, then– my brief review of it is posted at CT today, if you’re interested in reading further. To the review I’ll only add how nice it is to have the full focus on Mitchell’s voice; the guest turns on Hadestown were all great, but I don’t think I ever realized what a superb singer this lady is all on her own until I heard her take center stage here.

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