TONY MITCHELL – Hot Endless Summer Nights (2021)
TONY MITCHELL is best known as being the singer songwriter & fronting the ’90s classic hard rock band Kiss Of The Gypsy. He also recorded / toured with the likes of Alice Cooper, Alan Parsons, It Bites, etc, and was also the singer songwriter for Melodic Rock/AOR band Dirty White Boyz for their 2016 album release, “Down & Dirty”
In 2018, Mitchell released his solo album “Beggars Gold” to rave reviews, and 2020 saw Mitchell release his most successful album to date via AOR Heaven, “Church of a Restless Soul” that featured a duet with Danny Vaughn.
Nearly two years on, Tony Mitchell releases his third and most ambitious album to date, “Hot Endless Summer Nights” which predominately has an ’80s flavor as you can see in the cover art.
This is a wonderful ’80s inspired record with lyrics drawing on the experiences Tony had in the USA in the late Eighties. There’s many gems here from feel-good “Hot Endless Summer Nights”, the biographical “Blame it on the Rock n Roll”, ultra-dynamic ballad “Strong Enough”, the road anthem “Leave the World Behind” to the thought provoking climate change inspired track “Calling Mother Nature”.
Joining Tony there’s Midnite City guitarist Miles Meakin (Midnite City) and Nigel Bailey (3 Lions) on bass, so expect great musicianship.
Yeah, if you like classic ’80s-style AOR / melodic rock, you’ll love ”Hot Endless Summer Nights”.
Opener ‘Hot Endless Summer Nights’ has one of those classic AOR introductions with huge keyboards and thunderous guitar power chords before bursting into a hefty and classy piece of Melodic Rock with the requisite big chorus. It’s a great opening track and a statement of intent.
‘Can’t Fight It’ follows, and has an even bigger sound, more guitar-oriented than the opener, with loads of highly melodic soloing and another annoyingly catchy chorus.
‘Blame it On The Rock N Roll’ is up next and is the (possibly autobiographical) tale of a young man living his life with Rock in his heart and soul. It’s got a huge sound, with massive guitars throughout and massed gang vocals on the bridge and chorus hookiines. It also has a completely brilliant curve-ball midway through where it suddenly goes all ‘Beatle-esque’ with a piano before the massive power chords kick back in. It’s very clever, very unexpected on first listen (sorry to spoil the surprise!) and really lifts the track out of the ordinary.
‘Strong Enough’ takes the foot off the gas a little, offering a lovely and highly infectious mid-paced early 90s AOR-style ballad grounded in acoustic guitars and keyboards. Mitchell kicks back into a slightly harder mode on the uptempo ‘Drowning In A Sea of Paradise’ but there are plenty of cool AOR keyboards in the mix to balance the chugging guitars and the chorus is as melodic as they come.
The AOR theme continues with ‘Caught In The Headlights’ which has a nice atmospheric keyboard introduction. It’s a nice change of pace and that’s one thing about this album: although it has a very obvious AOR/Melodic Rock structure, the track ordering does provide a bit of variation and it certainly isn’t one-dimensional.
‘Neon Sky’ follows and has a very nifty bit of hi-tech keyboard work going on under the big guitars. It’s another very cool piece of AOR-tinged Melodic Rock and those keyboards give it a slightly different feel – it has that subtle variation which shows that Mitchell isn’t content with just sticking to one blueprint in his writing.
This is also demonstrated in the following track, ‘Leave The World Behind’ which throws some delightful saxophone into the mix on another classy piece of AOR: another little curveball that adds to the quality of the release.
Up next is ‘Turn Back Time’ which is another lovely piece with a distinct nod to Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria’ in the rhythm guitar figure. The use of slightly cleaner guitar arpeggios in this track provides another subtle variation on the overall theme while still retaining a cohesive flow to the whole album.
The CD hits the home straight with ‘With You In A Heartbeat’ which for some reason reminds me of cult late ’80s AOR icons Diving For Pearls in that it’s not quite got the typical approaches to AOR production – the sequenced bass and layered keyboards combining with the guitars to create another highly infectious and driving track.
The power is kept high as Mitchell’s band take us into the driven Melodic Rock of ‘Faithless’ which contains some nifty use of Arabian guitar scales of type so beloved of 1970s Rainbow. The keyboards in this track are also very reminiscent of Tony Carey’s work on Rainbow’s classic Rising album and the huge guitar solo could easily be lifted from that classic album (albeit with a bit more shred in the playing).
The album ends with the monstrous Melodic Hard Rock sound of ‘Calling Mother Nature’ which once again shows a clear Rainbow influence. There is a load of light and shade in this ‘stop-start’ hard rocker with relevant lyrics.
Simply put, if you like your ’80s AOR / melodic rock with a modern production, you will love this album. Tony’s performance is absolutely superb throughout and his band also put in sterling work; the lead guitars of Midnite City’s Miles Meakin being particularly strong, with aching melody one minute and shredding power the next. The songwriting is strong and varied and the production, as noted already above, is quite varied yet completely cohesive throughout.
An absolutely cracking record for fans of classic AOR / Melodic Hard Rock.
01 – Hot Endless Summer Nights
02 – Can’t Fight It
03 – Blame It On The Rock’n’Roll
04 – Strong Enough
05 – Drowning In A Sea Of Paradise
06 – Caught In The Headlights
07 – Neon Sky
08 – Leave The World Behind
09 – Turn Back Time
10 – With You In A Heartbeat
11 – Faithless
12 – Calling Mother Nature
Tony Mitchell – vocals, keys
Miles Meakin (Midnite City) – guitar
Nigel Bailey (3 Lions / Dirty White Boyz) – bass
Eddie Antony – drums
Daniel Sings – sax