Five studio albums down the track and the distinguished career of Bob Evans receives the Best Of treatment via new album, Full Circle, to be released on October 5. Full Circle features a brand new single, Drowning and is accompanied by a video filmed in studio by Arlo Cook during the recording of the track. To celebrate the release, Bob Evans will hit the road for a national capital cities tour kicking off at Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane on October 19, and moving through to Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, before finishing up at Northcote Social Club in Melbourne on November 3.

Discussing Full Circle, Kevin Mitchell explains, “I didn’t want to approach this like a traditional Greatest Hits or Best Of. I like the idea of it being presented more like an introduction to my work if you had never heard of me. This would be the record for that person. So I didn’t want to just bundle the singles together or present the songs in the order they were released. Some singles didn’t make the cut, in favour of album tracks that have grown legs of their own and found some kind of special place of significance without ever necessarily being on the radio or anything. Wintersong, for example, off my third album, was never on the radio or well known but I just love it so much I wanted it on there. There were a few songs I felt like that about but obviously I couldn’t put them all in. It was quite hard actually, trying to narrow 5 albums down to 14 tracks. But I’m happy with how it looks. I’m proud of what I’ve managed to create.”

Mitchell was already under the Australian music spotlight as singer/guitarist for indie-rock-darlings Jebediah when in 1998 he found a t-shirt in a Perth op-shop with the number 15 on the back, and the name ‘Bob Evans’ printed on the front. Coincidentally at this time he was embarking on his first solo shows in Perth and a random name on someone’s discarded basketball shirt took hold. He may have grown out of the t-shirt, but the name fit and has stayed for an impressive solo career.

“This Bob Evans guy has been hitching a ride in my life for 20 years,” Mitchell laughs. “It’s an unusual relationship to have with something that isn’t real.

Five years into playing solo shows, the first Bob Evans album, Suburban Kid, emerged in 2003, released via Jebediah’s own Redline Records label. While it didn’t receive much attention outside of WA, it started a new momentum for Mitchell’s solo career, with EMI signing him up for his second LP, Suburban Songbook, recorded in Nashville. Led by the much loved single, Don’t You Think It’s Time?, it set a new career path in motion.

“When Suburban Songbook came out and it was embraced and was successful, I had this whole new kind of career,” Mitchell recalls. “It really saved my arse because at the time Jebediah were kind of just burnt out and taking a break, and I… can’t do anything else.”

With Suburban Songbook winning Mitchell an ARIA Award for ‘Best Adult Contemporary Album’, 2009’s Goodnight, Bull Creek! saw him return to record the last of his ‘suburban trilogy’ in Nashville. He recalls moving on from Suburban Songbook being on par with Jebediah following up Slightly Odway, their smash hit 1997 debut LP. “It was an unexpected success, certainly more than I had expected,” he says. “It’s a strange mental game, making music after that and all of a sudden you’ve got this massive audience you’ve never had before.”

2013 saw the release of Familiar Stranger, with Mitchell wanting to make a record “that sounded nothing like any other Bob Evans record I’d made. I didn’t want to make an acoustic or singer/songwriter album, none of those labels. I felt creatively and artistically very confident in that record. I’m very proud of that record, but I had such a grand concept for it that I think I got a little bit lost in it and couldn’t quite deliver it the way that I imagined I would.”

As a result 2016’s Car Boot Sale was about going back to basics. “It was very much a return to the first couple of records that I made,” Mitchell notes, “digging into that singer/songwriter thing that I’d tried to get away from.”

With Full Circle finalised and ready for release on October 5, Mitchell is taking stock of what’s next, saying, “Looking forward, I guess I’m trying really hard to be keenly aware of what I want to do. It’s such a game to keep creatively stimulated and excited.”

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