Album review: ZED MITCHELL – Route 69

Pete Feenstra chatted to Zed Mitchell for Get Ready to ROCK! Radio in January 2021 and playing tracks from ‘Route 69′.


Timezone Records [Release date 15.12.20]

Zed Mitchell may only be known to his loyal coterie of blues aficionados but, clearly, ‘Route 69′ could garner a wider audience. Based in Germany he’s yet to really break out of his partisan audience and the new album may well be the passport.

Born in Belgrade, he became professional in 1970 at the age of 19 and has released over 20 albums.

Opener ‘By Sundown You’ll Be Gone’ reminds me of a more energetic John Campbell (the late great) with its swampy backbeat but the chorus is compelling  and catchy, the song punctuated by Mitchell’s bluesy licks.  And who should crop up supplying lyrics?  Our very own resident bluesman Pete Feenstra!

‘I Like To Drive’ has those clipped guitar notes that remind of Mark Knopfler whilst ‘I’m Still Waiting’ is one of several tracks that combine tasteful guitaring with a memorable chorus.

Pete’s back to supply lyrics to ‘The Girl That Broke Your Heart’ and ‘Freedom Trail’, the former reminding me of one-time Wishbone Ash guitarist Ted Turner’s approach with his Ted & Majella partnership.  The latter evokes Chris Rea.

Mitchell’s general approach is laid back throughout and the only distraction might be the occasional ‘non-native English speaker sings in English’ syndrome which affects the vocal intonation.  There are hints that this might be sorted next time with more use of his son Todor who supplies additional guitar and backing vocals throughout.

An instrumental or two might have provided contrast and a better vehicle for Mitchell’s smooth, engaging guitar tones which are here to embellish the songs rather than take centre stage.

This album should capture the ears of a wider listening public.  Yes it is blues based but goes much further with attractive tunesmithery leaning more towards pop/soft rock and even with a jazzy inflection.   Cool stuff.  ***1/2

Review by David Randall

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 20 March 2022 at 21:00 GMT (16:00 EST). Josh’s next session is Sunday 22 May.

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David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 8 May 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 3 May 2022.

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