Meet Mike Mitchell
Singer, Songwriter, Fiddler, Teacher living in Floyd, Virginia. “I moved to Floyd, Virginia twenty years ago, as a young man who was classically trained in violin (Ontario Canada) and a recent expat of the jamband scene. It was here that I learned of a reverence towards Oldtime and Bluegrass music, and that each county on the Blue Ridge has its own distinct style of playing and singing.” He has always been a performer, starting with his mom at the church organ and singing in the choir. “She started teaching me to play at the age of four, as I have my own children, who (along with other kids I’ve taught) accompany me on stage sometimes.” Mike picks and grins on the guitar and mandolin, sings like an angel, writes songs and melodies to feed the soul, and fiddles like an Appalachian native son with the devil’s own fingers.
His Instrument is special and his true musical voice. Mike’s fiddle has been in a Mitchell hands since at least 1890, when his great-great grandfather, DJ, carved his name in the one-piece back. it was the most natural thing in the world for Mike to take up “Grandpap’s” instrument. From his Bio, “It was natural that the Old-time and Bluegrass music of the Virginia Hills spoke to him, calling him to learn the secrets, the origin of the ancient tones, and the history of those who invented it. This was his journey–of place and belonging, family and heritage, but most of all, music—the river that would continually cross his path again and again, demanding to be heard, played, understood, and shared.”
“Buddy Pendleton taught me to play the fiddle style of the region. He learned from Howdy Forrester, both Buddy (with Bill Monroe) and Howard (with Monroe and Roy Acuff) played a fiddle style on the cusp between Old-time and Bluegrass, that has much classical sensibility. It is natural for me to follow in this line of succession. My songwriting, while having been compared to 70’s singer/songwriters, is my own. I am thankful for the ‘combined’ genre of Americana music!”
In addition to traditional and bluegrass music, Mike also performs jazz and classical violin. From the US to Canada, his recordings and performances have earned him a respected name within the regional industry and a devoted fan base. His influences are many and varied including The Allman Brothers Band, The Grateful Dead, JD Crowe and the New South 1975, Vassar Clements, Kenny Baker,Stephane Grapelli, Joe Venuti, Aubrie Haney, Blaine Sprouse, and The Osborne Brothers.
Mike has released 4 albums: Starting in 2001 with“High and Lively” – Folky Pop, 2007 “Thirteen Hours” – A collection of bluegrass, old country, and standard fiddle tunes, 2011 “Classics on Conners”– Favorite classical violin works done entirely on Arthur Conner handmade-in-the-Blue Ridge violins, 3/4 bass, and mandolin, and 2012 “Dead Center” – Fiddle tunes, bluegrass standards and original tunes with some of the finest pickers in the business. The “Dead Center” album debuted in May at #1 spot on Airplay Direct downloads chart and continues to chart in top 40.
Mike’s current album, “Small Town” is in production and will be released in February 2018, at Folk Alliance in Kansas City. Produced by Mark Schatz, it features Mike on fiddle and vocals, Mark Schatz on bass, Jarrod Walker (of Claire Lynch Band on mandolin and guitar), and both Sammy Shelor and Tommy Morse on banjo. Mike and The Bluegrass Trio will be traveling nationally to perform the new album. Check out his upcoming performances.
Floyd Music School
Mike is active in our country’s richest musical areas, Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains and, in 2005, founded the Floyd Music School, located in the old Pix Theater building where Bill and Charlie Monroe performed and Kenny Baker signed to the record label, County Records. To Mike, music is about learning, doing and sharing. His students range in age from 4 to 94 and lessons are available in person and online through LessonFace.
Mike and his wife, Jen, do all the teaching and administration. Jen teaches piano and flute,
Mike teaches violin/fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, bass, and voice. They have students from Virginia to Ohio to all over the US, from Denmark to Germany to Saudi Arabia, this list goes on. Mike has an instinct for the needs and capabilities of each student, and with his expert guidance, leads them to meet their musical potential and joy of making music.
Mike’s Floyd, VA
Located on a wide, high plateau of rich rolling farmland in southwest Virginia, Floyd has “become a mecca for artisans and “back to the land” proponents, with shops, galleries, restaurants and a vibrant farmers market. On Friday evening, residents and visitors flock to the Floyd Country Store for traditional music and dancing. The Jacksonville Center for the Arts offers classes and shows at the edge of town in a restored barn. Floydfest, an annual four-day celebration with seven stages and a wide variety of musical styles, takes place in July. Floyd is also home to County Sales, which distributes and preserves old time and bluegrass music.”