Mitchel Evan, leader of the band the Mangrove, is a moody songwriting talent from Virginia reminiscent of Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams whose career is finally taking off with his album Back & Forth. Evan is but a youngster breaking through at 23, but he’s already had a touch round of struggling with addiction when he was sixteen.
Evan told Westword he started using opioids when he was sixteen and turned to heroin at seventeen, which he abused for two years. His parents took him back in, but on one condition: Get help or get out of the house.
Evan got to the point where many suffering from addiction get to when they need to check into drug treatment centers. He said after two overdoses he decided to get help. “I was really out of options,” he said. “I knew that I was incapable of providing for myself and living on my own. I also knew that I was going to die if I didn’t stop using, and despite my desperation, I didn’t want to die. I just couldn’t imagine life sober.”
Evan got sober in rehab and started putting a career plan together. “I relocated to the Boulder area to pursue sober living and to make music full-time…It’s always great to know that after a tour I’m coming back to a wonderfully creative and active place.”
Evan tackles a lot of subjects in his music, including addiction. “Probably the most prevalent theme for me is the internal battle that we have within ourselves. We create our own happiness, but also our own misery at times.