Across the duration, roughly, of a standard poetry reading, the listener is treated to 16 tracks of Mitchell's great writings, delivered by the man himself. What a delight it is to hear his Philadelphia/Baltimore accent as he intones stories of life lived within the cracks and crevices of worlds both physical and temporal. Aging, death, frustration, insights from strangers and intimates are espoused in these pieces, and all are given a glistening dignity from the control that Feldstein obviously has over his craft. There's a Beat grittiness to these poems. Their scenes and the people within them, including the author, are very relatable.
Adding to the wonder of Pretty Boss is the musical accompaniments of Matthew Dermond and Zane Kanevsky. This duo repeatedly conjure up some absolutely perfect sounds that gird, smother, and support the readings. Electronics buzz and whirr, odd scratches break out, keyboards get pointy and funky, all just perfectly placed as they mix with Mitchell's incantations. The closing track, When She Told Him She Was In Love, with its repeated guitar riff and plummy bass picking, will have Lungfish fans weeping if I dare say so. It's just got that sound.
Much like Hammerin' Hank Aaron, one of the poetic subjects that appear on Pretty Boss, Flag Day and Mitchell Feldstein have hit a home run here. Be sure to bring your glove, as you'll want to catch it.