Brett Mitchell & the Mitchfits
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Brett Mitchell & the Mitchfits

Midland, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2005 | SELF

Midland, Michigan, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2005
Band Rock Folk

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"The One-Man Magic and Multiple Talents of Brett MItchell"

For singer/songwriter Brett Mitchell, success is a juggling act balanced by hard work, persistence, and passion. He is no stranger at being honored by fans at The Review Music Awards, having won numerous honors over the years beginning with the band Gutbucket, which he formed with guitar virtuoso Dave Kellan over a decade ago and cut his teeth with drumming professionally and touring by the age of 17. Now at the age of 30, Mitchell has truly come into his own, having secured honors at the 2013 RMA's for Best Solo Artist and Best Male Rock Vocalist, as well as both a Popular and Critic's Choice Award for Best Songwriter.

Mitchell has been described as 'the new millennium's version of Marshall Crenshaw', only that description falls short to explain the multi-leveled approach towards instrumentation that Mitchell has mastered - he is a veritable one-man band with his solo work, drumming and playing guitar simultaneously while singing with all the tonal inflection one could hope for.

To assist his songwriting, Mitchell taught himself guitar and by 2005 recorded his debut album, Stereo, playing virtually all instruments. One by one musicians approached him to support his live performances, and his band The Giant Ghost was formed. In 2007 Brett released his second original CD project, Small House, and his most recent 2011 release, Falling Apart at the Seams, received rave reviews in national publications such as Spin Magazine.

In the aftermath of attention basking in the limelight of his 2013 RMA achievements, recently I caught up with Mitchell to discuss his reaction along with his future plans to augment the momentum that his musical creativity is receiving.

Review: You managed to secure four awards this year: Best Solo Artist, Male Vocalist, and Best Songwriter in both the public choice and critic's choice divisions; so I'd like to explore each of these with you. What do you feel are the key qualities that define a good solo artist?

Mitchell: I think the song repertoire is important because it's just you, a one guy show. When I'm listening to a solo artist if they are just playing the same stuff that everybody else plays I lose interest quickly. Also, there needs to be some entertainment “quality” to the artist. Because you're only one person, you have to keep the crowd entertained so you have to be a skilled performer. It's a bonus if you are a multi-instrumentalist . Adding anything to make the sound bigger, such as harmonica, along with guitar, is a plus.

Review: What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing solo work as opposed to performing with a band?

Mitchell: The advantages of performing solo are that you can transition into any other song and not worry about whether your band members can follow you…like at the drop of a hat; less stress as far as set up and tear down; and you can play a bigger variety of venues because you can squeeze in any corner and play, which you can't do with a band.

The disadvantages of a solo performance include the obvious one - that it limits your performance; there are certain songs and things you just cannot do all by yourself. Another disadvantage is that you don't have any room for lagging during the actual performance, you have to be on top of every second of every song. When you have, for example, a party crowd and people are getting into the music and they want to party and rock, sometimes as a solo artist, you can't really bring that next level to the table. There's only so much you can do. Also, there are certain songs, originals or covers, I like to play that I have to do my own spin on because, solo, they will never sound like the real song.

Some solo artists use a vocal harmonizer or a drum machine, but what I like to do is set up my bass drum and high hats with a tambourine just to keep a simple beat while I play guitar and harmonica. This helps to emulate a bigger sound and it opens up more doors to be more entertaining as a solo artist. People seem to dig the “one man band” thing. However, I don't feel it's necessary to do that at all shows. At singer/songwriter showcases sometimes one person and a guitar creates an intimacy with the audience that is just as effective.

Review: Over the years your reputation as a songwriter has steadily grown as your material has evolved. What are some of the factors that you feel go into creating a good song that is memorable and carries impact?

Mitchell: Well, fortunately there is no one simple formula for a great song. For me, it seems like songs sometimes sprout out of an idea but then there are times when I actually have to put some work into a song, sit down and work through it until I feel like it's good enough. However, the catchiness factor of songs lies in melody - a familiar melody that can stick in your head. As far as lyrics go it has to be simple but yet universal to have an imp - Review Magazine From Issue 769 (Published May 09th, 2013) Written By Robert E Martin


"Brett Mitchell Kicks it up a Level"

Midland can certainly kick out some incredible talent and when it comes to music, Brett Mitchell stands above the rest. Brett has been writing, composing and singing his own songs for quite awhile now and never ceases to amaze. Even though the band appears to be the "GIANT Ghost" in the picture, they are a very big part of what brings Brett's songwriting to life.
Here's a little ditty from a small town paper: Brett Mitchell, the Midland-based singer-songwriter recently released his "Small House" album, chock full of solidly written, expertly produced tunes that span rock, pop and folk. I look at him as kind of a rootsy version of Marshall Crenshaw, a lot of pop hooks and very well written, very well produced stuff ...great witty lyrics, by the way, on the clever opening track, Born Too Late, definitely worth the listen. New Disease, as well as Last Chance, (are) two really good songs, very different and at the same time New Disease has a nice rock feel to it, kind of a love song, in a way...he's definitely an up and comer!...I've described Brett Mitchell as one of Michigan's most promising singer-songwriters, a sincere, 28-year-old guy who adroitly incorporates pop and rock elements from the past into impressive, rootsy, catchy, sometimes folksy songs. The lead track from his latest album, "Small House," is appropriately dubbed "Born Too Late," which sort of sums up his musical approach." -John Sinkevics, The Grand Rapids Press.
Come check out Brett and the GIANT Ghost Saturday, Dec. 15th @ Level 3 Lounge, inside the Turtle Creek Casino. PEACE! - Northern Spin


"Best Rock Band & Best CD Release of 2011: Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST"

Brett Mitchell and his band, the giant GHOST, garnered two of the biggest honors at the 25th Review Music Awards ceremony: Best Rock Band and Best CD Release for their excellent Falling Apart At The Seams, which was produced by Andy Reed.

Brett can rock with the best of them, but he's more of a pop rocker like Eric Carmen than say, Arcade Fire. Mitchell can write big ballads and pop songs but then add layers of hard rockin' guitar courtesy of the incredibly gifted Rick Manges. Brett is no slouch either. He not only fronts the band on guitar and vocals but he will take his turn on the drums, laying it down while he works the harp. It's a dynamic stage show that can never quite be captured in the studio.

The band's stellar musicianship and professionalism are wrapped around Brett like a warm coat. These cats are gonna make sure Mitchell sounds good. If not, manager Jan Hecht will whip them into shape. In an era where most local bands do not hire managers and agents, Mitchell was savvy enough to land Hecht. She makes a difference and her efforts to advance Mitchell have yielded spectacular results.

When asked about the awards, bassist Bill Hall commented, “To win both Best Rock Band and CD Release was a real surprise. There was stiff competition and we play out of town a lot, so I had never seen many of the bands we were up against. We are real busy and thanks to Jan we do over 100 dates a year. I did see Thick As Thieves and they're great. I was happy for Brett, I'm just trying to back him any way I can.”

Brett Mitchell was surprised as well. “We were playing Diamond Jim's in Midland when Jan came in after leaving the Review Awards show. She never said anything at first so I thought 'oh, well, we didn't win' and then she walked up to the microphone and told everyone we got Best CD and Best Rock Band. It was sweet. I was surprised 'cos there's a lot of great rock bands out there. Bill would say we're not rock, we are medium rock. It reminds me of a phrase used on the television show Futurama, in which they labeled certain forms of modern music as vaguely folkish alternative rock.”

As for the bands mounting popularity, Hall feels that the band has developed its true identity. It's about our tightness and dynamics within the band. We've been together for over three years and we can read each other's minds. We know what the others are going to do next by a facial expression, a nod, word or flick of a hand. Brett's diversity is a big plus. He can play several different instruments, all at the same time. But I have to give kudos to our manager Jan; she paves the road ahead of us, deals with all the logistics and makes it all work. She is the glue that holds it all together.”

Mitchell has another view, “The Internet has really helped. I always thought I had the same 10 fans until I opened up a Facebook page. I'd like to think our new album had something to do with it. Andy (Reed) and I put a lot of work into it. I think playing 10 times a month and spreading the gigs out to all four corners of Michigan and beyond is going to help spread the word.”

Hall is reflective about the future. “There are a lot of possibilities. I hope Brett sells one of his songs and makes the big time. Anything can happen at this point. We are looking for that lucky break.”

Mitchell agrees, “We are trying to place our music into commercials or the Indie Movie scene. It's a strategy that has promise…a number of bands we know are moving in that direction. Internet radio is emerging as a force. Recently I interviewed with a station out of New York. We came close a couple of times. Gone are the days of signing a three record deal and getting major label financing and support. I'll never be the flavor of the month but I hope to get some songs placed. I'd also like to get involved with Michigan's Festival circuit.”

Bo White - Review Magazine


"Best Rock Band & Best CD Release of 2011: Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST"

Brett Mitchell and his band, the giant GHOST, garnered two of the biggest honors at the 25th Review Music Awards ceremony: Best Rock Band and Best CD Release for their excellent Falling Apart At The Seams, which was produced by Andy Reed.

Brett can rock with the best of them, but he's more of a pop rocker like Eric Carmen than say, Arcade Fire. Mitchell can write big ballads and pop songs but then add layers of hard rockin' guitar courtesy of the incredibly gifted Rick Manges. Brett is no slouch either. He not only fronts the band on guitar and vocals but he will take his turn on the drums, laying it down while he works the harp. It's a dynamic stage show that can never quite be captured in the studio.

The band's stellar musicianship and professionalism are wrapped around Brett like a warm coat. These cats are gonna make sure Mitchell sounds good. If not, manager Jan Hecht will whip them into shape. In an era where most local bands do not hire managers and agents, Mitchell was savvy enough to land Hecht. She makes a difference and her efforts to advance Mitchell have yielded spectacular results.

When asked about the awards, bassist Bill Hall commented, “To win both Best Rock Band and CD Release was a real surprise. There was stiff competition and we play out of town a lot, so I had never seen many of the bands we were up against. We are real busy and thanks to Jan we do over 100 dates a year. I did see Thick As Thieves and they're great. I was happy for Brett, I'm just trying to back him any way I can.”

Brett Mitchell was surprised as well. “We were playing Diamond Jim's in Midland when Jan came in after leaving the Review Awards show. She never said anything at first so I thought 'oh, well, we didn't win' and then she walked up to the microphone and told everyone we got Best CD and Best Rock Band. It was sweet. I was surprised 'cos there's a lot of great rock bands out there. Bill would say we're not rock, we are medium rock. It reminds me of a phrase used on the television show Futurama, in which they labeled certain forms of modern music as vaguely folkish alternative rock.”

As for the bands mounting popularity, Hall feels that the band has developed its true identity. It's about our tightness and dynamics within the band. We've been together for over three years and we can read each other's minds. We know what the others are going to do next by a facial expression, a nod, word or flick of a hand. Brett's diversity is a big plus. He can play several different instruments, all at the same time. But I have to give kudos to our manager Jan; she paves the road ahead of us, deals with all the logistics and makes it all work. She is the glue that holds it all together.”

Mitchell has another view, “The Internet has really helped. I always thought I had the same 10 fans until I opened up a Facebook page. I'd like to think our new album had something to do with it. Andy (Reed) and I put a lot of work into it. I think playing 10 times a month and spreading the gigs out to all four corners of Michigan and beyond is going to help spread the word.”

Hall is reflective about the future. “There are a lot of possibilities. I hope Brett sells one of his songs and makes the big time. Anything can happen at this point. We are looking for that lucky break.”

Mitchell agrees, “We are trying to place our music into commercials or the Indie Movie scene. It's a strategy that has promise…a number of bands we know are moving in that direction. Internet radio is emerging as a force. Recently I interviewed with a station out of New York. We came close a couple of times. Gone are the days of signing a three record deal and getting major label financing and support. I'll never be the flavor of the month but I hope to get some songs placed. I'd also like to get involved with Michigan's Festival circuit.”

Bo White - Review Magazine


"Mitchell Out Front for CD Release Parties"

SCOTT BAKER |

FOR THE BAY CITY TIMES

Contrary to how he has titled his new CD, Brett Mitchell is not falling apart by any means.

The Midland drummer-turned-frontman this month unveiled his latest CD, “Falling Apart at the Seams.”

The CD was created along with producer/engineer Andy Reed at Reed Recording Studio in Bay City.

It’s the third collection of songs from one of the hardest-working original artists in the region and follows the success of its predecessors, “Small House” and “{Stereo},” each of which have helped make Mitchell a common touring name around the state and the Midwest.

Record release parties take place tonight at Diamond Jim’s in Midland and Friday at Bemo’s in Bay City.

Preview

• Who: Brett Mitchell & The giant GHOST

• Who: Brett Mitchell & The giant GHOST

• When & where: Thursday at Diamond Jim’s in Midland, Friday at Bemo’s in Bay City

• Cost: CDs $10 each with a dollar of every sale going toward Brett's charity "Button Up with Brett"

• Online sales: cdbaby.com, brettmitchellmusic.com and iTunes


“It’s crazy to think about how long it actually took” to complete the CD, laughed Mitchell in a phone interview last week. “Andy and I can be perfectionists, at least in our own little world, and we wanted to make sure it sounded right (and) a lot of this record is analog. We did a lot of the recording on his tape machine. We had a lot of trial and error things with that.”

Usually touting his group The giant GHOST on recordings, Mitchell made a decision to utilize Reed’s studio expertise and craft songs along with Reed.

“On the record I had a trumpet player come in, a cellist, and some extra guest musicians,” he said.

Mitchell was so enthused with the sound of the album, he is pressing vinyl copies to be released in March at another record release party. He hopes to have every performer on the new CD participate in that show as well.

“Analog sound in its original form, it’s almost a fantasy for me to do it,” he said. “I’m excited to do it and not a lot of people locally are really doing anything like that. I want to do a show where everyone’s there and it’s kind of the full sound you hear on the record.”

One of the unique things Mitchell has also set out to do is donate a percentage of proceeds from his sales to his charity he has set up with the help of manager, Jan Hecht.

“The physical CD (looks) like a big red button,” he said. “I am raising money from the album sales to help families that can’t afford warm clothes throughout the winter, into the rest of the year. The campaign is called "Button Up With Brett." We have little red button pins that you get when you buy a CD, you (can) show your pride that you helped out.”

“Falling Apart At The Seams” also has a unique cover design thanks to Hecht.

“I wanted the new CD to be in actual fabric, but I know it was just way too ambitious, too expensive,” said Mitchell. “I drew out the album and had Jan embroider fabric and we had a photographer take pictures of it. When you look at it, it looks really embroidered or fabric. ... It all ties into ‘Falling Apart at the Seams.’ ”

- Bay City Times


"Brett Mitchell's Falling Apart at the Seams"

Brett Mitchell's Falling Apart at the Seams
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Review by Kara Gheldof

There's a certain balance to be found between the opening and closing tracks of Brett Mitchell's latest album, Falling Apart at the Seams, an assortment of songs that are alternately lonely and hopeful but consistently entertaining.

"I've let go of everything / except this string / that's all that's left of me," Mitchell croons in the titular track, which kicks off the album and wastes no time, save for one three-note false start. It's a fitting start to the album that consists mostly of songs that seem to be longing for a lost relationship or perhaps something deeper that Mitchell just can't seem to get a grasp on, despite earnest attempts to understand it.

This theme of being lost and weary is repeated all throughout the album, culminating in the final powerful track, wherein Mitchell sings, "This time around / I won't fall down / a thousand times I've said these lines / but somehow always seemed contrived / I’m picking up the pieces that were left on the ground / and I’ll be better." The words are melancholy yet somehow energized and optimistic, maybe more so than any other song on the album, so it's a perfect choice for the final track if Mitchell's intent was to leave his listeners with resonant feelings of motivation.

It's not hard to wonder where Mitchell's appeal comes from; his sound is an amalgamation of plenty of his favorite artists spanning a plethora of genres, with a particular focus on folk and alternative rock, with a dash of country thrown in. But despite the little hints of familiarity in his tunes, it's hard to pinpoint Mitchell's style to any one influence. He can go from the sweet, pop-rock sound of "Stay Home Tonight" to the more contemplative jazz-infused "Shake It Out" to harder, guitar-heavy tunes like "Dead-End Lover" with ease. There's no doubt Mitchell would put on a great live show, blending his softer songs with the more energetic ones.

One of the best tracks on Falling Apart is the penultimate "The Other Side," an introspective, harmonica- and brass-infused ballad. "How many walls do we have to climb / til' we find there’s nothing on the other side / endless success will test the rest/but I’m not defined by what I possess," Mitchell sings, reminding us more of a sultry blues singer than any persona he'd represented so far. The change is not terribly jarring though, as the song is a culmination of all the supposing Mitchell had done prior to that point, and sums up his struggle fairly well. It is possibly the only track where Mitchell dispenses wisdom with complete confidence, but it works just as well as the songs where he is lost and searching.

Hopefully, Mitchell and his band needn't search for much longer; they have a clean and professional sound that is wholly appealing. They are surely destined for greater things and wider exposure down the road. Perhaps this 3rd album will be viewed as the in-between step and the catalyst for whatever is awaiting Mitchell next.

- 360 Main Street


"Music Festival returns to Freeland park"

Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 7:39 AM Sue White | The Saginaw News

Brett Mitchell — the rocker, not the new Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra director — is a busy man. Mitchell, along with his band the giant Ghost, play out three or four nights a week. They have a new album in the final stages, and they’ll soon hit the road again, spreading the word on their tight new sound. But the show that has him excited is the day-long FreeMusic Festival coming Saturday at Tittabawassee Park, 9200 Old Midland.

“The cool thing, why I love doing these shows, is that we get to see the bands we never see when we’re all out working,” Brett said. “Ben Cohen, who organized this, went to high school with me and it’s cool how this has all come together for him. Isn’t that how it always happens, you do something and people really take notice.”

Cohen and his friends founded the festival a few years ago, “it was just something we put together so our friends had a place to play,” he said. “We figured it would be a blast, and then word of mouth brought everyone around. We had such a fun time, we decided to do it bigger the next year, with a more diverse show.”

Brett Mitchell and his band perform right before Maybe August and then they’ll head for a gig at the Midland Resort, formerly the Holiday Inn.

Though the new album isn’t released yet, they’ve handed out five-song demos and created a buzz.

“We’re going to play some songs from it at the park,” Mitchell said. “I’m really proud of it. Our last album was eclectic, with a lot of left turns, while this one is short and sweet and cut down to the best. It’s not a huge difference; it’s the same style, the same vibe. But we’re getting stronger and there’s more of a cohesive feel to it.”

Hopefully, he said, people will come to hear what all the bands have to offer, great music that goes outside the box.

“I’m a songwriter, a singer and a musician, but more than anything, I’m a music lover,” Mitchell said. “I can appreciate what Ben has brought together here. It’s a great way to hear some of the best in the area.”

- Saginaw News


"Music Festival returns to Freeland park"

Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010, 7:39 AM Sue White | The Saginaw News

Brett Mitchell — the rocker, not the new Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra director — is a busy man. Mitchell, along with his band the giant Ghost, play out three or four nights a week. They have a new album in the final stages, and they’ll soon hit the road again, spreading the word on their tight new sound. But the show that has him excited is the day-long FreeMusic Festival coming Saturday at Tittabawassee Park, 9200 Old Midland.

“The cool thing, why I love doing these shows, is that we get to see the bands we never see when we’re all out working,” Brett said. “Ben Cohen, who organized this, went to high school with me and it’s cool how this has all come together for him. Isn’t that how it always happens, you do something and people really take notice.”

Cohen and his friends founded the festival a few years ago, “it was just something we put together so our friends had a place to play,” he said. “We figured it would be a blast, and then word of mouth brought everyone around. We had such a fun time, we decided to do it bigger the next year, with a more diverse show.”

Brett Mitchell and his band perform right before Maybe August and then they’ll head for a gig at the Midland Resort, formerly the Holiday Inn.

Though the new album isn’t released yet, they’ve handed out five-song demos and created a buzz.

“We’re going to play some songs from it at the park,” Mitchell said. “I’m really proud of it. Our last album was eclectic, with a lot of left turns, while this one is short and sweet and cut down to the best. It’s not a huge difference; it’s the same style, the same vibe. But we’re getting stronger and there’s more of a cohesive feel to it.”

Hopefully, he said, people will come to hear what all the bands have to offer, great music that goes outside the box.

“I’m a songwriter, a singer and a musician, but more than anything, I’m a music lover,” Mitchell said. “I can appreciate what Ben has brought together here. It’s a great way to hear some of the best in the area.”

- Saginaw News


"Brett Mitchell-Falling Apart at the Seams"

On his third disc Brett Mitchell comes out shooting from the hip with the help of genius pop-minister Andy Reed. Hallelujah. This duo is a match made in power pop Heaven. With a heavy dose of Mitchell’s vision, Reed was able to fashion an irresistible collage of vaguely familiar sounds, brought to full sonic brilliance through his analog recording technique. Reed was behind the board twisting the dials and bringing out the best performance from Mitchell’s already brilliant tenor. Mitchell and Reed play all the instruments with astonishing results. Through a collective knowledge of harmony, melody and craft, Mitchell and Reed created an almost perfect disc. This disc ranks up close to some of the best works of the Raspberries, Big Star and Badfinger. Standout tracks include Falling Apart at the Seams, the Moog/Strawberry Fields vibe of Disappointing the Dancers, the raucous rocking Dead End Lover, and the good time Simon & Garfunkel influenced You Could Be My Hat.
- Review Magazine


"Brett Mitchell Up Close and Personal"

When an artist moves from the back to the front, seeing the light is just the beginning. From behind the skins in the Gutbucket Blues Band some five years ago to being plastered on posters at every venue around town currently, Brett Mitchell has come into his own.

Creating a hotbed of musical ideas, Mitchell has been ultra-busy, fully booked as an acoustic solo artist while watching the sales of his debut solo album {STEREO} get cherry-picked off the shelves in the Tri-Cities area.

A nominee for numerous Review Awards on May 1st, Mitchell will arrive in front of his peers as a solo artist for the first time. "It's always nice to have some sort of effect when you put all the money into it and hope that you have some sort of appeal to somebody," stated the solo artist during a phone interview last week.

Originally not planning on anything special, Mitchell laughs about his initial idea behind recording only a handful of songs.

"It's pretty funny how it all happened," he explains. "I didn't really anticipate putting together a full album or anything. My girlfriend's mom said I should record some of my songs. She really liked a few of the songs I played for her, and she got me a gift certificate for Christmas a couple of years ago for four studio hours at Big Bear. That's where it all started."

His girlfriend's mother, Jan Hecht, now runs Brett's public relations and helps with everything from booking shows to setting up interviews.

"I went into Big Bear Studio downtown (Midland) and it just kind of became this project," he said. "We didn't even plan for it to happen this way. I just started laying down different parts and I thought, well, let's see what happens if I spend a little bit more time on each song. It just kind of became bigger and bigger. I have never even thought about putting together a full concept album or project and putting drums down, piano and stuff like that. I did not plan on it being this big at all, that's for certain."

He thought he would have it finished fast enough to release last summer.

"I started recording in the very beginning of January of 2005. The last studio date was sometime in late summer, and then I released it in September of last year. It was a nine-month project. Studio time took about seven months to record. It became like this addiction almost where I had this other freedom or another dimension of music that I never had before. On top of that, just the idea of being able to experiment with different sounds while in the studio increased the time spent in the studio."

With the CD getting cut through Disc Makers, Mitchell found himself with a completed project, brilliant artwork, and a question mark about what to do next.

"CD Baby has been a huge help with distributing the CD," he said. "I'm not trying to compete with anybody at all. I'm happy to be part of the Tri-Cities music scene and especially with the Review Magazine Award nominations. That's just something that I'm overwhelmed by. I remember I was just a blues drummer back in the day playing with Dave Kellan and Jake Krull and just that alone was something huge for me - to be out at the bars playing. Now with the nominations at this year's Awards ceremony; well, that is something that I just had no clue about."

"I know many solo guys really put a lot of effort and time into their craft and their career and they really have that drive and ambition. By any means I'm not saying I don't have a drive and ambition, but initially those were not my intentions. I just wanted to get a couple of songs down and have it on a burned CD. I guess it's inevitable when you're genuine about something and you put the time and effort into it, somebody's going to appreciate it. I guess that's what happened with this."


Now Mitchell is just finding his feet as a front person.

"I'm totally not that guy," he laughed. "You see things in yourself and you also totally understand things in the past like, 'Oh, this totally makes sense when I was playing with this guy. Now I know how he felt."

Performing as a duo since January, Mitchell has booked up most of the spring into the coming summer.

"I play with Tim Puckett (ex-Gone Daddy Gone keyboardist/vocalist)," said Mitchell. Puckett found out about Mitchell from a CD at White's Bar. "I guess he really liked my stuff. He emailed me saying that he was going to come out to some shows and he came out, listened and watched performances and stuff, took notes. He's been playing for years. He plays keyboards and every once in a while background guitar and I can maybe fiddle over it. It's just him and I."

"He's amazing. He's just one of the most kind hearted, down to earth guys I've ever met and extremely talented and intelligent. I made him learn 35-40 songs in less than a month. To be able to know all those songs and compact all those songs and remember all those songs, it's something that I would never expect anyone to do."

Mitch - Review Magazine by Scott Baker


"Brett Mitchell Interview"

Brett Mitchel
interview by Nick Stephenson

Within minutes of beginning a conversation with singer/songwriter Brett Mitchell, one can sense there's something different about the Midland native. While discussing how he'll pursue his dream, he may ramble about logistics, but there's credibility in his voice. Like many kids just out of college (or about that age), he dreams of dropping everything and moving out west. But he also thinks that if he doesn't get there for another few years that'd probably be for the best.

When he talks about his new album versus his old album, you'll hear his patience. The songs at myspace.com/brettmitchell are from {Stereo}, while Small House will be released in May. Mitchell told Recoil that the new material is similar to the myspace cuts, only amped-up.

"You get the gist of it – it's still pretty mellow, it's not really rockin' stuff," he said during a telephone interview. "The new album actually [does have] a little bit higher energy, a little more of a rock edge."

Mitchell's influences are many, but he listed Ben Kweller, Wilco and Brendan Benson as three who are currently driving him. All carry an edge he hopes he achieved on Small House.

"It probably won't translate like that – it'll probably still be acoustic, mellow, Jack Johnson wanna-be guy – but I'll take what I can get, you know."

Mitchell has actually been kicking around Michigan for a few years and he's hardly a rookie on the local music scene. He learned drums at 14, guitar at 18 and began touring while going to school. In 2005, he enlisted Tim Puckett as a keyboardist, guitarist, banjo player and harmonica player, then added Mike Cramton of Robert Bradley's Blackwater Surprise on percussion. Soon he was getting bar gigs, then out-of-state festivals.

"It really kind of blossomed out of nothing," he said. "It just keeps on getting bigger and bigger and more people start paying attention to my music. That's just really all I hope for is that there will always be people who understand I'm just expressing myself in the only way I know how."

He also feels fortunate to have bandmates mature enough in their careers to allow him enough freedom to create without interruption. Cramton, Hall and Puckett love focusing on Mitchell's original music.

"I don't know how I got so lucky because I can't hope for anything better [than] to have a musician that loves your music," he said. "Tim's always the guy who says 'focus on your originals.'"
- Recoil Magazine Grand Rapids, MI


"Small House by Brett Mitchell"

Midland, Michigan native Brett Mitchell is creating a fair amount of buzz in the Midwest. Honest, insightful songwriting buoyed by a great melodic sense lift his second album, Small House, to soaring heights. Compared to the likes of Marshall Crenshaw and artist Georgia O’Keeffe, Mitchell certainly makes an impression on listeners. With a talented backing band (The giant GHOST), Mitchell crafts a sound that is at once familiar and original. Small House opens with Born Too Late, a fun little rock anthem regretting the accident of birth known as time. It’s a hindsight is 20/20 song with a great hook and a melody that will stick in your brain. Small House is a wonderfully melodic pop tune with an almost virally infectious sound. Friend takes on a darker, more acoustic sound on its way to a moment of pop near-perfection. Mitchell opens things up a bit on New Disease, an infectious guitar-rock tune you’ll want to put on continuous play. Hypocrite is another personal favorite, infusing funk and soul into an amazing pop creation. This is the best song on the album, but several others are close (Small House, New Disease). OCD is a deliciously demented waltz you have to hear to believe, while Night Glasses is a lovely epic story in music that highlights Mitchell’s ability to tell dark stories in the world of mostly peppy popular music. Mitchell reaches down deep and serves up Consider Me Gone, a Bob Dylan sound-alike. You’ll also want to check out Neighbors, Good Intentions and Onion. Brett Mitchell brings a wonderfully melodic sense to his songwriting that is almost British in nature. Mitchell’s distinctive voice and organic arrangements combine to create songs that are literally works of beauty. Small House is a wonderful surprise and very much deserves to be heard. If you make just one foray onto the World Wide Web this week to check out new music, make sure Brett Mitchell is at the top of your list. - Wildy Haskell of Wildy's World


"Well-Written, Well-Played, Well-Recorded, Well Done, Brett Mitchell"

Reviews: Brett Mitchell ~ Small House
The Skinny:

Brett Mitchell’s Small House is an entertaining CD that manages to deliver real depth and quality musicianship through a pop idiom.

The Details:

From the opening synthesizer line of Brett Mitchell’s Small House, you know that this is music written by someone who understands pop—not trash pop, but up-beat, radio-friendly, fun pop. From the palm muted guitars to the catchy riffs, from the hook-based choruses to the perfectly harmonized back-up vocals, this album is pop through and through.

Mitchell's strong voice and excellent songwriting combine to make him a powerful front man. And what is the smartest thing that a great songwriter/front man can do? Why, surround him or herself with excellent musicians, of course -— and this is exactly what Mitchell has done on Small House. It is obvious that he was careful to choose the exact kind of musicians he wanted playing his music. The songs on this CD are crisp, short pop numbers (over half of them clocking in at a radio-friendly three and a half minutes or less), and each musician plays their parts accordingly. Mike Cramton adds confident, succinct drumming on various tracks throughout the album and tasty, subtle congas on “The Hypocrite.” Bill Hall’s reggae bass line on “Don’t Worry About Me” carries the song, helping to make it one of the most enjoyable tracks on the recording. Multi-instrumentalist Tim Puckett seems to have mastered putting the cherry on the sundae, so to speak, bringing in just the right instrument to top off whatever song he’s on—playful harpsichord on the waltzy “O.C.D.,” mood-setting lap steel on the alt-country “Night Glasses,” and tasteful piano on the album’s closer, “Onion.” Manager and co-producer Jan Hecht pulls out her accordion for the apocalyptic folk-ballad “Neighbors,” and sound engineer Andy Reed plays anything else that needs to be filled in. Mitchell is himself a talented musician on a number of instruments, playing acoustic and electric guitar, drums (which sound good at his hands, but notably better at Cramton’s), percussion, banjo, and vibraphone on the album.

The gorgeous recording quality allows you to appreciate the musicianship at its fullest, while the fairly wide variety in song styles keeps you interested from start to finish. Mitchell’s lyrics are occasionally a bit fluffy, as if they were written to sound like radio hits rather than written to really say something, but the majority of the songs are honest and clever. The stand-out track on Small Houses has got to be the extremely entertaining and witty “Born Too Late.”

I could’ve been Elvis, they say I got good looks.
But you see now none of that matters, if you ain’t got any good hooks (like this one) ...

I was born too late, I was born too late
I could’ve been great ...

Yeah, I could’ve been Johnny Cash, cause I can sing real low.
I sure as hell can get real drunk and show up late to all of my shows.

I could’ve been John Lennon, yeah I’d give peace a chance.
I’d make amends with Paul and tell Yoko NO not to sing with the band ...

I can only assume that Mitchell and his band, the giant GHOST, who are already gigging heavily throughout Michigan, will be coming to a city near you on national tours before too long. In the meantime, you can get yourself a copy of Small House and see what all the fuss is about.
- Silas Durocher, Indie-Music.com


"Brett Mitchell's Small House"

Here is an unusual one. Normally, albums written from a singer/songwriter fare do not grab my attention as being something that would connect with Not Lamers, yet "Small House" from Brett Mitchell kept calling me back to consider in earnest for you all to pay attention. While there is a small handful of pure popping tracks that hit `dead center` for the sensibilities of many of you, most of the 15 tracks are simply pleasant singer/songwriter stylings but these songs have heart and soul backing them up, which is why I want to give you the opportunity to check out Mitchell. From upbeat electric rock with catchy licks to acoustic whims, Brett`s revelations will revv you up and then gently lay you down, over and over. - Bruce Brodeen Not Lame Records


"Brett Mitchell's Small House"

Here is an unusual one. Normally, albums written from a singer/songwriter fare do not grab my attention as being something that would connect with Not Lamers, yet "Small House" from Brett Mitchell kept calling me back to consider in earnest for you all to pay attention. While there is a small handful of pure popping tracks that hit `dead center` for the sensibilities of many of you, most of the 15 tracks are simply pleasant singer/songwriter stylings but these songs have heart and soul backing them up, which is why I want to give you the opportunity to check out Mitchell. From upbeat electric rock with catchy licks to acoustic whims, Brett`s revelations will revv you up and then gently lay you down, over and over. - Bruce Brodeen Not Lame Records


"Branching out, singer-songwriter Brett Mitchell"

Local artist Brett Mitchell got his start in middle school, playing with friends in high school such as Dave Kellan.

I sat down with Brett Mitchell in his home, inspiration for the song “Small House,” and talked about the music scene and what’s coming up for him.

How did you get involved in the music game?

I always had an interest in music even before I started playing. I think the main thing was all my friends.
They were always after school somewhere playing and I always felt like I needed to be part of it somehow.
I rented a drum set ... and I just set up in my garage and started banging away.

How did you make that transition from the drummer to a front man?

I really don’t remember when I kind of just thought ‘Hmm, I’m going to try to write a song on guitar.’ It was such a gradual transition that I can’t remember the moment. I always was fiddling on a bass or guitar.

It probably wasn’t until I was 17 and my parents bought me a guitar for Christmas.

What is in your CD player/car stereo?

I listen to old records. Some of my favorite records are old jazz, like Bunk Johnson... Those are all old players not directly influenced by boogie-woogie pianists.”

Who influences you?

My biggest influences are a lot of Ben Folds Five, Travis, Wilco. Jeff Tweedy from Wilco is probably my biggest as far as songwriting, or anything like that goes.

I’m pretty all over the board, I even like newer stuff ... My true passion is always the older stuff, old jazz, classic rock.

When it comes to songwriting, where do you get inspiration?

“Life imitates art,” the old cliché. I think it’s true, everyday experience. Obviously love plays a big factor, or lack of. I think it’s just kind of something I think of as the best way to express myself.

I’ve written songs about everything from OCD to wanting to leave Midland or talking about not being able to write a song, like writer’s block.

You’re starting to get invited to play larger, out-of-state festivals, including Nashville and in New Jersey. How did you make that transition from local to these other shows?

The biggest thing is (manager) Jan, Jan Hecht. She’s my manager/booking agent/PR person. I really owe it all to her.

“It just kind of happened, Jan started booking it. So really, I didn’t do much of anything but do what I do (laughs) and just play music and I was lucky enough for someone to have that ability.

As an independent artist, what do you think of online music services like iTunes?

At first I was a little perturbed by it because I’m old school. I appreciate the artwork on an album cover. I appreciate the smell of it when you open it. I appreciate the little, random, bizarre thank you stuff.

Digital distribution, and the iPod, and MySpace, and all these tools that help independent artists out -I think there are more opportunities now than there have ever been in the history of rock ’n’ roll, in the history of American popular music.

As far as the local music scene goes, what do you like about it and what is missing?

During Motown era, even post-Motown era, people kind of forget, Michigan used to be (it) when it came to awesome music.

I look back and let that kind of dictate how I feel about the scene sometimes.

I do get frustrated with the scene, but at the same time there are some amazing musicians popping up here and there.

The biggest thing I find that’s missing (in the Tri-Cities) is the idea of doing something fresh, being creative ... Taking the risks to do what you truly want to do and not being accommodating to a large, mainstream audience.

What advice would you give to upcoming musicians, or perhaps yourself a few years ago?

First thing I’d definitely say is don’t feel like it’s pointless. Don’t feel like there’s no point.
I’d probably say keep yourself creating, constantly, just be creating, even if it’s not music even if it’s writing poems or writing in a journal or just in general.

Like, writing on your shoes, or just stupid stuff so you’re just constantly creating and always expressing yourself; I think that’s crucial for someone just starting up.

Just get it out.
- Verge Magazine by Josh Grosteffon


"Branching out, singer-songwriter Brett Mitchell"

Local artist Brett Mitchell got his start in middle school, playing with friends in high school such as Dave Kellan.

I sat down with Brett Mitchell in his home, inspiration for the song “Small House,” and talked about the music scene and what’s coming up for him.

How did you get involved in the music game?

I always had an interest in music even before I started playing. I think the main thing was all my friends.
They were always after school somewhere playing and I always felt like I needed to be part of it somehow.
I rented a drum set ... and I just set up in my garage and started banging away.

How did you make that transition from the drummer to a front man?

I really don’t remember when I kind of just thought ‘Hmm, I’m going to try to write a song on guitar.’ It was such a gradual transition that I can’t remember the moment. I always was fiddling on a bass or guitar.

It probably wasn’t until I was 17 and my parents bought me a guitar for Christmas.

What is in your CD player/car stereo?

I listen to old records. Some of my favorite records are old jazz, like Bunk Johnson... Those are all old players not directly influenced by boogie-woogie pianists.”

Who influences you?

My biggest influences are a lot of Ben Folds Five, Travis, Wilco. Jeff Tweedy from Wilco is probably my biggest as far as songwriting, or anything like that goes.

I’m pretty all over the board, I even like newer stuff ... My true passion is always the older stuff, old jazz, classic rock.

When it comes to songwriting, where do you get inspiration?

“Life imitates art,” the old cliché. I think it’s true, everyday experience. Obviously love plays a big factor, or lack of. I think it’s just kind of something I think of as the best way to express myself.

I’ve written songs about everything from OCD to wanting to leave Midland or talking about not being able to write a song, like writer’s block.

You’re starting to get invited to play larger, out-of-state festivals, including Nashville and in New Jersey. How did you make that transition from local to these other shows?

The biggest thing is (manager) Jan, Jan Hecht. She’s my manager/booking agent/PR person. I really owe it all to her.

“It just kind of happened, Jan started booking it. So really, I didn’t do much of anything but do what I do (laughs) and just play music and I was lucky enough for someone to have that ability.

As an independent artist, what do you think of online music services like iTunes?

At first I was a little perturbed by it because I’m old school. I appreciate the artwork on an album cover. I appreciate the smell of it when you open it. I appreciate the little, random, bizarre thank you stuff.

Digital distribution, and the iPod, and MySpace, and all these tools that help independent artists out -I think there are more opportunities now than there have ever been in the history of rock ’n’ roll, in the history of American popular music.

As far as the local music scene goes, what do you like about it and what is missing?

During Motown era, even post-Motown era, people kind of forget, Michigan used to be (it) when it came to awesome music.

I look back and let that kind of dictate how I feel about the scene sometimes.

I do get frustrated with the scene, but at the same time there are some amazing musicians popping up here and there.

The biggest thing I find that’s missing (in the Tri-Cities) is the idea of doing something fresh, being creative ... Taking the risks to do what you truly want to do and not being accommodating to a large, mainstream audience.

What advice would you give to upcoming musicians, or perhaps yourself a few years ago?

First thing I’d definitely say is don’t feel like it’s pointless. Don’t feel like there’s no point.
I’d probably say keep yourself creating, constantly, just be creating, even if it’s not music even if it’s writing poems or writing in a journal or just in general.

Like, writing on your shoes, or just stupid stuff so you’re just constantly creating and always expressing yourself; I think that’s crucial for someone just starting up.

Just get it out.
- Verge Magazine by Josh Grosteffon


"12 Songs from Rising Bands"

Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST
“Neighbors” from Small House
Hometown: Midland, Michigan

Despite an apocalyptic lyrical theme, (It’s the end of the world/ It’s the end of the world/ And there’s nothing left to burn/ Which way will you turn), “Neighbors” isn’t as bleak as it is catchy. The toe-tapping acoustics are lovely and fit well, but the vocals play the biggest role. Like a mellow, more folksy Bad Religion, Mitchell’s well thought out words clearly convey his dedication to singing/songwriting. It won’t cheer you up on a rainy day, but listen to it a few times and you’ll probably be humming the chorus until, well um, the end of the world. Watch for Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST on tour in the Michigan area as well as a new full length in Summer 2010.
- SPIN Magazine, Ian Kesseler on SPINearth.tv


"12 Songs from Rising Bands"

Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST
“Neighbors” from Small House
Hometown: Midland, Michigan

Despite an apocalyptic lyrical theme, (It’s the end of the world/ It’s the end of the world/ And there’s nothing left to burn/ Which way will you turn), “Neighbors” isn’t as bleak as it is catchy. The toe-tapping acoustics are lovely and fit well, but the vocals play the biggest role. Like a mellow, more folksy Bad Religion, Mitchell’s well thought out words clearly convey his dedication to singing/songwriting. It won’t cheer you up on a rainy day, but listen to it a few times and you’ll probably be humming the chorus until, well um, the end of the world. Watch for Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST on tour in the Michigan area as well as a new full length in Summer 2010.
- SPIN Magazine, Ian Kesseler on SPINearth.tv


"Review of Small House"


Sit back, kick your feet up and prepare yourself for some of the best latte rock since Emitt Rhodes left Merry-Go-Round and did American Dream. Melodic pop never got much better than Rhodes' You're A Very Lovely Woman. Sure there were some mighty efforts put forth - Badfinger's No Matter What, Todd Rundgren's Hello It's Me and Big Star's September Gurls - but none could match the pure power-pop genius of Paul McCartney.

From Yesterday to Helter Skelter and his stone masterpiece Maybe I'm Amazed, McCartney became the Holy Grail to many an aspiring pop singer.

Brett Mitchell is among the legion of Sir Paul devotees as is his producer, former Haskels' front man Andy Reed.

After an early incarnation as strong-arm power drummer for Gutbucket Blues Band, Mitchell morphed into a sweet honey-toned singer songwriter and blew us all away with his 2005 debut release Brett Mitchell (STEREO) that featured such gems as Sun Is Leaving with its gorgeous cello backdrop, the late-sixties-Kinks-inspired Defrost and the playful good time rim-clickin' Goes My Way (with the wondrous Dave Kellan singing background). Like his idols Weezer, Mitchell can swing sweet and soft but he can rock yer socks off too!

Before I review each of the songs on this glorious CD let me tell you the story - the real story - about how Brett Mitchell found the inspiration for Small HouseŠ

At the most unexpected times Brett's memory swings back to his college days, sleeping in till noon and pulling all nighters on those black bennies his suite-mate cuffed from a street vendor, or the infamous swirly incident andŠ oh yeahŠthat lovely coed from Australia who called him "baby" and turned up at odd hours dressed only in a Bogie-like white trench coat and ready to go.

Initially she was attracted to his strong wrists and would squeeze and kiss them like she was feeding a fetish or something...it kinda creeped him out though he really liked it. She told him she used to date the drummer from Air Supply and she found that drummers made great lovers.


Brett could only smile whenever he thought of her - you know that crooked half smile like he was Elvis or something. But when sweet pants learned that Brett's musical ambitions had changed and he was beginning to sing (and oh, what a voice he had) and write songs, she decided full out to fall-in-love with him. She thought of herself as an erstwhile Patti Harrison and hoped she might arouse Brett to write great love songs like Something or Wonderful Tonight or her favorite song - MandyŠMandy?

But before it got too serious she jumped ship and left for Arkansas to campaign for Huckabee. She loved his Faith, Family, Freedom slogan - the sound of it, not the meaning - and sang back-up in his band Capital Offense. Some say she was the one who convinced Huckabee to run for the Presidency.
Stump, caucus and rock n' roll - politics is just too sexy! Now THAT is what inspired Brett to write and record Small HouseŠHONEST.

And what a colorful musical landscape Brett creates on this disc. He's the post-modern Georgia O'Keefe of rock n' roll, painting his songs with such vibrancy and erotic tension while still evoking a quiet beauty in the music. This is in artist in transition, maturing and reaching his enormous potential while still achieving balance and centeredness.

The disc opens with Born Too Late a great mid-temp rocker with a riff straight outta the Cars songbook and musical landscape colored by the layered doodling of a moog synthesizer. This is a hook-filled joy to behold with an irreverence that captures the spirit of Cash, Lennon and the other masters mentioned in the lyrics.

Small House is a metaphor for a day in the life of a working musician, trying to make it - at least beyond the county line. It's hard work, long hours and doesn't always pay well. It's both exhilarating and demoralizing, depending on the gig and the crowd response - do they ever really get it? All in all, the small house can prepare you for something bigger.


Don't Worry About Me. This is Bob Marley meets Paul Simon - a reggaefied pop treat that seems to be the third movement in the opening trilogy of related songs about being a musician. Common themes include sleeplessness, loneliness, solitude, and relationships - problems that seem preordained for the lifestyle.
Friend is an ode to love and friendship and is one of the most beautiful songs on the disc. Mitchell's pure tenor is used to great effect and helps convey his search for closeness and spiritual longing. Indeed, Mitchell's voice is one of the best instruments on the CD.

This is no small praise as the supporting cast of Mike Cramton (drums, conga, and percussion) Tim Puckett (piano, lap steel, harpsichord), Bill Hall (bass), and Andy Reed (bass, producer) are superb - MONSTERS on each of their instruments!

Head in the Clouds is a cool jazz ballad beautifully sung with Mitchell's vibraphone adding effect. The - Bo White - January 2008


"Review of Small House"


Sit back, kick your feet up and prepare yourself for some of the best latte rock since Emitt Rhodes left Merry-Go-Round and did American Dream. Melodic pop never got much better than Rhodes' You're A Very Lovely Woman. Sure there were some mighty efforts put forth - Badfinger's No Matter What, Todd Rundgren's Hello It's Me and Big Star's September Gurls - but none could match the pure power-pop genius of Paul McCartney.

From Yesterday to Helter Skelter and his stone masterpiece Maybe I'm Amazed, McCartney became the Holy Grail to many an aspiring pop singer.

Brett Mitchell is among the legion of Sir Paul devotees as is his producer, former Haskels' front man Andy Reed.

After an early incarnation as strong-arm power drummer for Gutbucket Blues Band, Mitchell morphed into a sweet honey-toned singer songwriter and blew us all away with his 2005 debut release Brett Mitchell (STEREO) that featured such gems as Sun Is Leaving with its gorgeous cello backdrop, the late-sixties-Kinks-inspired Defrost and the playful good time rim-clickin' Goes My Way (with the wondrous Dave Kellan singing background). Like his idols Weezer, Mitchell can swing sweet and soft but he can rock yer socks off too!

Before I review each of the songs on this glorious CD let me tell you the story - the real story - about how Brett Mitchell found the inspiration for Small HouseŠ

At the most unexpected times Brett's memory swings back to his college days, sleeping in till noon and pulling all nighters on those black bennies his suite-mate cuffed from a street vendor, or the infamous swirly incident andŠ oh yeahŠthat lovely coed from Australia who called him "baby" and turned up at odd hours dressed only in a Bogie-like white trench coat and ready to go.

Initially she was attracted to his strong wrists and would squeeze and kiss them like she was feeding a fetish or something...it kinda creeped him out though he really liked it. She told him she used to date the drummer from Air Supply and she found that drummers made great lovers.


Brett could only smile whenever he thought of her - you know that crooked half smile like he was Elvis or something. But when sweet pants learned that Brett's musical ambitions had changed and he was beginning to sing (and oh, what a voice he had) and write songs, she decided full out to fall-in-love with him. She thought of herself as an erstwhile Patti Harrison and hoped she might arouse Brett to write great love songs like Something or Wonderful Tonight or her favorite song - MandyŠMandy?

But before it got too serious she jumped ship and left for Arkansas to campaign for Huckabee. She loved his Faith, Family, Freedom slogan - the sound of it, not the meaning - and sang back-up in his band Capital Offense. Some say she was the one who convinced Huckabee to run for the Presidency.
Stump, caucus and rock n' roll - politics is just too sexy! Now THAT is what inspired Brett to write and record Small HouseŠHONEST.

And what a colorful musical landscape Brett creates on this disc. He's the post-modern Georgia O'Keefe of rock n' roll, painting his songs with such vibrancy and erotic tension while still evoking a quiet beauty in the music. This is in artist in transition, maturing and reaching his enormous potential while still achieving balance and centeredness.

The disc opens with Born Too Late a great mid-temp rocker with a riff straight outta the Cars songbook and musical landscape colored by the layered doodling of a moog synthesizer. This is a hook-filled joy to behold with an irreverence that captures the spirit of Cash, Lennon and the other masters mentioned in the lyrics.

Small House is a metaphor for a day in the life of a working musician, trying to make it - at least beyond the county line. It's hard work, long hours and doesn't always pay well. It's both exhilarating and demoralizing, depending on the gig and the crowd response - do they ever really get it? All in all, the small house can prepare you for something bigger.


Don't Worry About Me. This is Bob Marley meets Paul Simon - a reggaefied pop treat that seems to be the third movement in the opening trilogy of related songs about being a musician. Common themes include sleeplessness, loneliness, solitude, and relationships - problems that seem preordained for the lifestyle.
Friend is an ode to love and friendship and is one of the most beautiful songs on the disc. Mitchell's pure tenor is used to great effect and helps convey his search for closeness and spiritual longing. Indeed, Mitchell's voice is one of the best instruments on the CD.

This is no small praise as the supporting cast of Mike Cramton (drums, conga, and percussion) Tim Puckett (piano, lap steel, harpsichord), Bill Hall (bass), and Andy Reed (bass, producer) are superb - MONSTERS on each of their instruments!

Head in the Clouds is a cool jazz ballad beautifully sung with Mitchell's vibraphone adding effect. The - Bo White - January 2008


"Midland singer-songwriter Brett Mitchell and the giant GHOST have stories to tell"

Midland singer-songwriter Brett Mitchell and the giant GHOST have stories to tell at The Saginaw News All About Women Expo
by Sue White | The Saginaw News

Brett Mitchell says he's going to shake things up a little.

Listen for a small change in style when he releases his third album, "Falling Apart at the Seams". It's not so acoustic, he said, and a little offbeat.

Then he pulls out his guitar and the Midland singer-songwriter still taps into the heartfelt musings that come from someone with a passion for making music.

Catch a listen when Mitchell and his band perform from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, at The Saginaw News All About Women Expo, held at Saginaw Valley State University's Ryder Center. You can also check out a podcast performance on Catch the Muse with Sue at The News; just go to www.mlive.com/saginawnews and click on the podcast's icon.

"It's kind of weird," he said. "I'm 28, and at this point, you'd think I'd have lived a year or two in Nashville or something. I have traveled a bit, but this is my home, where my family is, and I'm sticking around."

It doesn't seem to hurt his popularity. He works with guitarist Rick Manges of Midland and drummer Mike Cramton and bassist Bill Hall, both of Saginaw, in the band known as the giant GHOST. Along with manager Jan Hecht, members are traveling the Midwest with their music.

And with the Internet -- "The world's bigger with people and smaller with technology," he said -- he just might reach a dream, playing to crowds in Europe.

But he's not forgetting mid-Michigan, where he earned Artist of the Year honors from the DStreet Entertainment Critic's Choice Awards at the Review Music Awards.
More importantly, he still listens to that inner voice.

"The title song from the new album is a song I wrote dealing with past regrets," he said. "You learn from your mistakes, and there's always a second chance to do things differently."

Mitchell said he's always loved music, but growing up, he never thought of performing professionally. It was when Hecht heard his songs, he said, that he had the encouragement to record a few.

"She gave me a gift certificate for studio time, and I thought I'd maybe record a couple songs but it became an actual CD," he said. "And it was successful."

He performed in a few ensembles, the GutBucket Blues Band with Dave Kellan, and then a duo with Tim Puckett, before starting his own group. His is a unique style, in the vein of Jason Mraz or Wilco.

"There are so many things I want to do, and in a troubled economy, music isn't the most stable way to make a living full time," he said. "But when it's something you love ... I guess I'd rather be poor with a fire in my heart. This is what I love, and I'm thankful that the Tri-Cities has allowed it to blossom."

It's been a great year. He can look back on his video, "Born Too Late," that played on national television. He remembers well how nervous he felt performing at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe, where many singer-songwriters got their big break.

"The other people there are the kind of musicians I aspire to become," he said. "I was digging that town; it's a saturated scene. You walk around, doors are open and you hear all the bands."

A trip to New York City brought an invitation from Kellan, who lives there now, to play Gavin DeGraw's Bar, The National Underground, a popular music club, during a open jam.

"All I did was write a song," Mitchell said. "But it takes me so many places. In New York City, Moby was in the audience and he invited Brett up to play with him that night.

"It was wild; he's a great musician. It was cool to see an artist like that who enjoys all kinds of music."

Again, he added, the memories come with a sense of gratitude and respect for the people in mid-Michigan who first appreciated what he did.

"These are the people who remember me," he said. "Andy Reed, I'm such a fan of his talent, and he produces my albums! I just sit back and watch what he can do. There's such a circuit going with people here, a bond we form through our music.

"Who knows where this will go. I'm content to keep playing."
- The Saginaw News


"Midland singer-songwriter Brett Mitchell and the giant GHOST have stories to tell"

Midland singer-songwriter Brett Mitchell and the giant GHOST have stories to tell at The Saginaw News All About Women Expo
by Sue White | The Saginaw News

Brett Mitchell says he's going to shake things up a little.

Listen for a small change in style when he releases his third album, "Falling Apart at the Seams". It's not so acoustic, he said, and a little offbeat.

Then he pulls out his guitar and the Midland singer-songwriter still taps into the heartfelt musings that come from someone with a passion for making music.

Catch a listen when Mitchell and his band perform from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, at The Saginaw News All About Women Expo, held at Saginaw Valley State University's Ryder Center. You can also check out a podcast performance on Catch the Muse with Sue at The News; just go to www.mlive.com/saginawnews and click on the podcast's icon.

"It's kind of weird," he said. "I'm 28, and at this point, you'd think I'd have lived a year or two in Nashville or something. I have traveled a bit, but this is my home, where my family is, and I'm sticking around."

It doesn't seem to hurt his popularity. He works with guitarist Rick Manges of Midland and drummer Mike Cramton and bassist Bill Hall, both of Saginaw, in the band known as the giant GHOST. Along with manager Jan Hecht, members are traveling the Midwest with their music.

And with the Internet -- "The world's bigger with people and smaller with technology," he said -- he just might reach a dream, playing to crowds in Europe.

But he's not forgetting mid-Michigan, where he earned Artist of the Year honors from the DStreet Entertainment Critic's Choice Awards at the Review Music Awards.
More importantly, he still listens to that inner voice.

"The title song from the new album is a song I wrote dealing with past regrets," he said. "You learn from your mistakes, and there's always a second chance to do things differently."

Mitchell said he's always loved music, but growing up, he never thought of performing professionally. It was when Hecht heard his songs, he said, that he had the encouragement to record a few.

"She gave me a gift certificate for studio time, and I thought I'd maybe record a couple songs but it became an actual CD," he said. "And it was successful."

He performed in a few ensembles, the GutBucket Blues Band with Dave Kellan, and then a duo with Tim Puckett, before starting his own group. His is a unique style, in the vein of Jason Mraz or Wilco.

"There are so many things I want to do, and in a troubled economy, music isn't the most stable way to make a living full time," he said. "But when it's something you love ... I guess I'd rather be poor with a fire in my heart. This is what I love, and I'm thankful that the Tri-Cities has allowed it to blossom."

It's been a great year. He can look back on his video, "Born Too Late," that played on national television. He remembers well how nervous he felt performing at Nashville's legendary Bluebird Cafe, where many singer-songwriters got their big break.

"The other people there are the kind of musicians I aspire to become," he said. "I was digging that town; it's a saturated scene. You walk around, doors are open and you hear all the bands."

A trip to New York City brought an invitation from Kellan, who lives there now, to play Gavin DeGraw's Bar, The National Underground, a popular music club, during a open jam.

"All I did was write a song," Mitchell said. "But it takes me so many places. In New York City, Moby was in the audience and he invited Brett up to play with him that night.

"It was wild; he's a great musician. It was cool to see an artist like that who enjoys all kinds of music."

Again, he added, the memories come with a sense of gratitude and respect for the people in mid-Michigan who first appreciated what he did.

"These are the people who remember me," he said. "Andy Reed, I'm such a fan of his talent, and he produces my albums! I just sit back and watch what he can do. There's such a circuit going with people here, a bond we form through our music.

"Who knows where this will go. I'm content to keep playing."
- The Saginaw News


Discography

Falling Apart at the Seams, release date 01/01/2011.

Small House, released 11/21/2007

{Stereo}, released 9/24/05,

GUTBUCKET, 2012 (Brett's side project with Dave Kellan and Jake Krull) Gutbucket, self titled, and recorded live just won Review Magazine's Best CD Release for 2012.

Gutbucket Blues Band, self titled and recorded in 2000 with Brett (B.J.) on drums and vocal harmonies along with Dave Kellan & Jake Krull. (Available only by contacting brett@brettmitchellmusic.com.)

Liisten and purchase all the above at CDbaby.com or download through most digital services including iTunes, Amazon and Rhapsody.

Photos

Bio

4/21/13 - Brett wins big at the Review Magazine Awards (Great Lakes Bay Region Publication): Critics' Choice Rock Songwriter of the Year and fan voted awards Best Male Vocalist, Best Solo Artist and Best Songwriter!

What's the fuss? Brett Mitchell is one of Michigan's best drummers. He can be a maniac on drums but if that wasn't enough, he sings lead from them. On top of that he might be found playing guitar and harmonica at the same time...while playing the drums and singing. The live show is mesmerizing. Brett's voice is just so appealing that you can't take your eyes or ears off of him. Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST is exploding the Midwest wide open.

Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST won Best Rock Band and Best CD Release from Review Magazine!!! Read about it here: http://www.newreviewsite.com/articles/Best-Rock-Band--amp--Best-CD-Release-of-2011--Brett-Mitchell--amp--the-Giant-Ghost-nbsp-/696

You Could Be My Hat and I Saw You In MY MInd from Falling Apart At The Seams were selected to be included on the Traverse City Film Festival's compilation cd.

Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST invited to play the International Pop Overthrow festival at Paycheck's in Hamtramck.

About Brett's album, Falling Apart At The Seams released 1-1-11: "As the new millennium's version of Marshall Crenshaw, Midland's Brett Mitchell continues his tuneful march into pop-rock glory, (with) his catchy, smartly constructed songs and gorgeous guitar work just aching to be played on a car stereo with the windows open on a sunny summer day." Grand Rapids Press Music Critic John Sinkevics

Latest review by Steve Ferra on http://www.absolutepowerpop.blogspot.com: Mitchell's third album is a great leap forward from his still-fine previous work, buoyed by help from fellow Michigander Andy Reed (a name that should be familiar). This is first-rate singer-songwriter power pop, from the rollicking title track to the insanely catchy "I Used to Think of Her" to the rocking "Dead End Lover" to the clever "You Could Be My Hat".

New Disease from the album Small House is one of the top 100 finalists (#38) in the Universal Pictures' "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" contest,. Check it out here: http://www.myxer.com/theme/IndieRockvstheWorld/

Brett was selected to join the performing singer/songwriters on the Bluebird Cafe tent stage at The Country Throwdown Tour in Cleveland, OH. www.countrythrowdown.com

Born Too Late, the video, was selected for the Chicago International Movies and Music Fest www.CIMM.org.

SPIN Magazine featured "Neighbors" from Small House on SPINearth.tv by Ian Kesseler: Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST Hometown: Midland, Michigan Despite an apocalyptic lyrical theme, (Its the end of the world/ Its the end of the world/ And theres nothing left to burn/ Which way will you turn?), Neighbors isnt as bleak as it is catchy. The toe-tapping acoustics are lovely and fit well, but the vocals play the biggest role. Like a mellow, more folksy Bad Religion, Mitchells well thought out words clearly convey his dedication to singing/songwriting. It wont cheer you up on a rainy day, but listen to it a few times and youll probably be humming the chorus until, well um, the end of the world. Watch for Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST on tour in the Michigan area as well as a new full length this year.

Latest review of Small House by Pete Karoly: "Brett Mitchell poses an interesting question on the opening cut of his album Small House. In a song titled "Born Too Late," he laments the fact that he was not there along with the others at Sun Studios when this thing called rock and roll was launched in earnest. "I could have been Elvis," he says. My question to him is, Presley or Costello, because I think you could be either or both.

Mitchell is a talent out of Midland and I would go so far as to say a formidable talent. The buzz on the web is that "Born Too Late" is in the running for some sort of award, but I think that could be said for just about all of the cuts on this album. There is no disputing that he opens with a winner, but Mitchell goes through a variety of self-penned songs that more than hold their own both musically and lyrically.

Band Members