Fathers & Sons
Mike Mitchell’s first album with Turnberry Records was released just before Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and the timing couldn’t have been an accident. Fathers & Sons is about family relationships and strikes more than one personal note.
Mitchell, a native of Canada, lives and runs a music school in Floyd, Virginia, part of the Crooked Trail music tour and a bluegrass outpost of the first order. This fourth album from Mitchell offers 11 songs that he wrote or co-wrote and two special covers that are nods longtime bluegrassers will appreciate.
The album’s first track, “I Hear Banjos,” is a firecracker start, driven hard by the banjo playing of Trey Wellington. That’s followed by “Making Hay,” a fun song with a smirk, and then one of the best on the album, “It Rained,” which Mitchell co-wrote with Rick Lang.
There’s a nice gospel number in “Save Me,” but the aforementioned covers stand out as well. Mitchell takes a nice turn on the Lost & Found’s “Love of the Mountains.” And, it is hard to resist the Gordon Lightfoot song “Summer Wages” (previously recorded on the classic J.D. Crowe & The New South album Rounder 0044), which should get a lot of love at live shows.
In addition to Wellington’s outstanding banjo work, Mitchell is joined on the album by Jason Moore (bass); Joey Mosley (guitar); Jake Mosley (mandolin); Jesse Smathers, Greg Blake and Jesse Brock (vocals); and Alex Donahone on bass for one number. Mitchell sings lead vocals and hits all the right notes on fiddle throughout the 12-track CD.
A nice treat is in the liner notes, where Mitchell gives insight into the creation and evolution of all the songs, even elaborating on why the covers were chosen.