MIKE MITCHELL, DEAD CENTER
This is fine debut release by the Floyd, Va., fiddler Mitchell. He has lined up some very good support from the likes of Sammy Shelor on banjo and Wyatt Rice on guitar, who’s guitar playing is tastefully just right throughout. Jacob Eller lays down solid bass and Jeff Midkiff plays mandolin.
Mitchell’s command of the fiddle is obvious and his tone is righteous. At times, his bowing is just different enough to cause a double take. The title cut, one of five originals, is a proclamation of what it is like to live in the middle of it all. It is humorous with a nice old-time bluegrass bounce to it. His “Homeplace” is a sentimental reflection on younger times. There are some standout cuts, like “Rachel” with a sweet triple fiddle treatment featuring Laurel Brooke and Buddy Pendleton playing along with Mitchell and the harmonic potatoes to kick off a nice version of “Limerock.”
“Fiddler’s Dream” is actually “Devil’s Dream” played by Mitchell and Pendleton. They open up in harmony then take rides on the melody, take this “dream” to new places. The program also includes some fine picking by Jeff Midkiff particularly on “Backup And Push.” The well-played fiddle tunes sandwich the sensitive original songs. This is a well-conceived and executed program that shows off Mitchell’s talents nicely. (Mike Mitchell, P.O. Box 468, Floyd, VA 24091, www.mikemitchellmusic.com.)RCB
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