Mitch Barrett

Mitch Barrett

BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Award winning singer, songwriter and storyteller Mitch Barrett draws from his Appalachian heritage in celebrating the joys and struggles of everyday life. This 2009 Telluride Troubadour and 2 time Merlefest winner brings the philosophy of the mountains to the contemporary stage in story & song.

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Biography

AppalachianFunkyFolksyRastaBluesman Mitch Barrett is one of Kentucky’s most sought-after and talented singer, songwriter and storytellers. Mitch’s music draws from his Appalachian heritage and the values it instilled: agrarian work ethic, simple living, the importance of family and celebrating the joys and the struggles of everyday life through music and song.

A keen life observer and riveting performer, Mitch Barrett songs deftly laces thought-provoking subject matter with a satirist’s sense of wit and irony. Whether he’s leading a workshop, headlining a Performing Arts Center, or playing a large festival, Mitch takes his audience on an engaging journey, channeling the inner voice of a truck-stop waitress, a mountain boy seeking spirituality or a socially and environmentally-charged activist.

Mitch’s rendition of Shady Grove was featured on the CD "APPALACHIA: A HISTORY OF MOUNTAINS AND PEOPLE". Academy Award winning actress Sissy Spacek narrates the four-part PBS series.

Mitch has won many of the country's most prestigious songwriting competitions. The Folk’s Festival Songwriting Competition, The Merlefest “Chris Austin” Songwriting Competition (twice awarded), and The Kerrville “New Folk” Competition and most current the 2009 Telluride Troubadour Competition.

Some of his performances include The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, The Copenhagen Blues Festival, Sisters Folk Festival, Common Ground on the Hill, The Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival, The Evening Muse, The Grey Eagle, Pine Mt. Dulcimer Festival, Kentucky Home Front Theater, Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival, Kentucky Music Weekend, Rudyard Kipling, Clear Creek Healing Arts & Music Festival, The Dream Acres Festival, Tidewater Friends of Folk Music, The Freight & Salvage, The Folks Festival, The Kerrville Folk Festival, The Music2Life Competition. Floydfest, The Clinch Mt. Festival, The Bele Chere Festival, The Birchmere, The Writer’s Block, The Bean Blossom Festival, Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, The Tidewater Traditional Arts Festival, The National Storytelling Festival, The Kentucky Homefront Theater, The Blue Plate Special, Merlefest, The Little Tennessee River Festival and the Kennedy Center Stage in Washington, D.C.

Mitch has performed with such notables as Arlo Guthrie, Mark Schatz, Si Kahn, Greg Martin, Dirk Powell, Josh Pennington, Less Taylor, Darrell Scott, Richie Havens, Tom Paxton, Dar Williams, Doc Watson, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brian, Steve Forbert and Dave Mallett.

As a veteran storyteller and folk musician Mitch Barrett leads a collaborative storytelling and songwriting workshop, grounded in the premise that everyone’s story is important. Mitch begins by sharing songs written over his 30-year career, and discusses the life events that inspired them. Some are painful, others joyous; but in each he reveals his own vulnerability.

Suggested Formats
Original is the word here. People still have a hard time putting Mitch Barrett into a category. So it's best he just stays in his own category of Appalachianfunkyrastafolksybluesman. He's a contemporary Appalachian singer/songwriter with a touch of Americana thrown in for good measure.

Mitch is often accompanied on upright bass by Kentucky native and Zoe Speaks band mate Owen Reynolds. Owen has played the upright bass since 1998, playing in a variety of bands ranging from traditional styles to rock and funk to Latin and jazz. Having studied music at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Owen has a strong theoretical grasp, but he is careful not to let his knowledge of theory interfere with the musical communication going on on-stage. Owen has been professionally performing for fifteen years and has been a part of The Kettleheads, The Betweeners, Zoe Speaks and other regional acts.

Lyrics

Viola

Written By: Mitch Barrett

Viola pops her bubblegum
Wears her dresses way to short
She ain't trying to be a tease
Can't help it if you find it pleasing
Lord, Lord

Truckers say "How is it you look so fine this early in the morning"
She says "Honey I been here since
last night at nine"
Top off the coffee and winks a little warning

Viola, Viola, Viola wait on me

I know it's not politically correct
but I would give my paycheck just to see you walk across the floor

Now some folks they get their news
from the morning paper or the idiot tube I get mine straight from the horse's mouth ain't no secret in this town
Viola, who's shooting who
Petty tyrants and greedy fools
We've got more important things to talk about besides, they always leave the good news out

Viola, Viola, Viola wait on me

Now you can't just walk into any fast food place and expect to be greeted by this angel's face
It might be convenient, it might be fast but when it comes to hospitality, don't ask
How am I doing? Doing fine
Ya'll come bak now ya here

Viola, Viola, Viola wait on me

I know it's not politically correct but I would give my paycheck just to see you walk across the floor

"Behave yourself honey and I might give you Some more…Coffee, pie..."

Sweet Viola

Viola pops her bubblegum
Wears her dresses way to short
She ain't trying to be a tease
Can't help it if you find it pleasing
Lord, Lord

Pearl

Written By: Mitch Barrett

Pearl look at the way you’re dressed.
Hair in your face and your life’s a mess
Whisper sounds like a cigarette
But you swear you’re comfortable where you’re at

Pearl, ya gotta’ pull yourself together
Pearl tomorrow’s a brand new day
I’m sick of singing the blues and I’m sick of seeing you this way

It must have something your mother never said
After all these years you still keep it hid
What’s that behind those baby blues
A little girl crying inside of you

Pearl, I believe I hear her singing
Pearl can she come out and play
I’m sick of singing the blues and I’m sick of seeing you this way

Wrapped up in smiles and reasons
Moving to a beat of a different drum
I see your eyes and it pleasing
So few miles yet look how far you’ve come

Pearl, ya gotta’ pull yourself together
Pearl tomorrow’s a brand new day
I’m sick of singing the blues and I’m sick of seeing you this way

Drop in the Bucket

Written By: Mitch Barrett & Carla Gover

It's a crazy world we live in
Bad news all around
Brothers and Sister's if we're gonna' make a difference
We're gonna' have to stand our ground

It's a drop in the bucket
And a bucket in the pond
And the pond fills the river
And the river rushes on
Every river swells the river
Till the power can't be stopped
And what becomes a might ocean
Started as a drop yeah

Down in Alabama
A lady boarded a bus
The driver said "you're black
You got' a sit in back"
Rosa said, "I've had enough"

She was a drop in the bucket
And a bucket in the pond
And the pond fills the river
And the river rushes on
Every river swells the river
Till the power can't be stopped
And what becomes a might ocean
Started as a drop…yeah

Great Britain ruled over India
Made 'em slaves to the goods they bought
Till Gandhi took his people to the ocean
He said look…free salt

He was a drop in the bucket
And a bucket in the pond
And the pond fills the river
And the river rushes on
Every river swells the river
Till the power can't be stopped
And what becomes a might ocean
Started as a drop…yeah

In the ally's of Calcutta
Mother Theresa lived her life
She did much more then feed the poor
She taught us to shine our light

This little of mine
I'm gonna' let it shine
This little of mine
I'm gonna' let it shine
This little of mine
I'm gonna' let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine

You're a drop in the bucket
And a bucket in the pond
And the pond fills the river
And the river rushes on
Every river swells the river
Till the power can't be stopped
And what becomes a might ocean
Started as a drop…yeah

Born to Waste

Written By: Mitch Barrett

Johnny was rotten had a cold dead heart, he traded everything he owned to put a Ox behind the cart,
he wasn't born to waste, he had to acquire that taste

Polly was pretty, frail and pink
Her parents sent her away to college or so they think, she wasn't born to waste, she had to acquire that taste

After the ball game out in the car,
she thought Johnny was beautiful with all his scars. Took her all the way to propriety and crack, as far as the money went then they drove on back

She was tryin’ to fit in now she’s dying to get out, memories of virginity bad taste in her mouth,
she wasn't born to waste, she had to acquire that taste

Couldn't find a job yeah, but he could always score, so full of good intentions they spilled out upon the floor, he wasn't born to waste, he had to acquire that taste

Your Mamma and Daddy can't soothe this child, only the angels can save her now.

Polly and Johnny are playing house,
they spent the money her parents sent livin’ hand to mouth. The water won’t quench the thirst for blood it appears the flesh is weaker then God is good. They wasn't born to waste he had to acquire that taste

They wasn't born to waste he had to acquire that taste

Elvis and The Indians

Written By: Mitch Barrett

Waiting on an answer
Waiting on a train
Sit until your ass gets numb
Try and pass the blame

Someone else’s problem
Someone else’s fault
Did you get more then you bargained for
Have to chew, what you bit off

Pretty girls and pretty boys
Hair cut nice and clean
Mom and dad take em to the Greyhound station
Wave goodbye from their oiled machine

There’s no Cronkite on TV
No messages from the Pope
Elvis has left the reservation
And the Indians gave up hope

Grandpa what’s this world coming to
There ain’t no air to breath
I wanna’ tear down all these houses
Use the lumber to build some trees

Old veterans and checkers and moon pies
Flag on the pole out front
Not a chance in hell for a first down
So we’ll all back off and punt

Pretty girls and pretty boys
Hair cut nice and clean
Mom and dad take em’ to the Greyhound station
Wave goodbye from their oiled machine
There’s no Cronkite on TV
No messages from the Pope
Elvis has left the reservation
And the Indians gave up hope

Save your money to buy forgiveness
Spend your time to pay for your sins
All men are created equal
Ha, then why’s it always us never them

Pretty girls and pretty boys
Long hair and jeans
Oh the time has come for a different way you say
I see your sign, what does it mean
There’s no Cronkite on TV
No messages from the Pope
Elvis has left the reservation
And the Indians gave up hope

Gave up, Gave up hope
Waiting on the answer
Waiting on the train
Waiting on the train

Quarter Past Eleven/Prison Thoughts

Written By: Mitch Barrett

Quarter past eleven, 1967
I just flew in from Vietnam
Oh these people, no smiling faces
Wonder if they know where I’m coming from
Gentle breeze outside my window blowing
Captured inside September morning

Waiting for rain to come
Waiting for rain to come
Waiting for rain chances fall

Out into the kitchen, the smell of motivation
Lingers on the room like some old song
Not that early, not that late
Read the paper, contemplate
Nicaragua, Afghanistan
Not much difference, not much difference from where I stand

Their waiting for rain to come
Waiting for rain to come
Waiting for rain chances fall

Here in the city, oak leaves and starlings dine in the jungle with me
Gentle breeze outside my window blowing
Captured inside September morning

Oooo, can not know prison thoughts
Oooo, can not know prison thoughts
I am captured, a soul lost in a mind, my mind
I try to escape through words
Words to rough to rhythm

Oooo, can not know prison thoughts
Oooo, you can not know prison thoughts
I was two; now I’m one…I’m one
The white dove and the raven

Oooo, can not know prison thoughts
Oooo, you can not know prison thoughts
I’m tired of talking to the same old face I’ve seen those eyes before
That smiles to familiar to trust
Same old face, same old face
Same face in the bottom of my cup

Oooo, can not know prison thoughts
Oooo, you can not know prison thoughts
Ohooooo

Oh these people, no smiling faces
Wonder if they know where I’m coming from
Gentle breeze outside my window blowing
Captured inside September morning

Quarter past eleven, 1967
I just flew in from Vietnam

Fightin' the Feelin'

Written By: Mitch Barrett

I wake up each morning finding I’m alive
Disappointment fills my room it burns my eyes
Off in the distance I feel a shadow
My eyes are clearer now, now I know
Fightin’ the feelin’ I didn’t know
Fightin’ the feelin’ how could show

Fightin’…..fightin’….

I remember cool evenings reading your face
Turn back the pages and now I have erased
All too often I reach for the book
It dawns on me the meanings I miss took

While fightin’ the feelin’ I didn’t know
Fightin’ the feelin how could I show
Fightin’ …fightin’

I love you forever, how long does that take
Blessed be the eagle that learns from mistake
Tree falls to earth turns back to land
Boy falls for girl turns to a man

Cry mamma am I alive
Has the egg cracked his shell crawled back inside
While fightin’ the feelin’ I didn’t know
Fightin’ the feelin how could I show
Fightin’ …fightin’
Fightin’ the feelin

I wake up each morning finding I’m alive
Disappointment fills my room it burns my eyes
Off in the distance I feel a shadow
My eyes are clearer now, now I know
Now I know

Fightin’ the feelin’ I didn’t know
Fightin’ the feelin’ how could I, how could I show
Fightin’ …fightin’ I didn’t know
Fightin’ fightin’ oh, oh oh oh

Sacred Yard

Written By: Mitch Barrett

Outside in my front yard…
I got a plastic rooster and Noah's Ark
Camel bells from a foreign land,
Crystal ball on a terra cotta stand
Jesus crosses hanging in the trees
Tibetan prayer flags blowing in the breeze
Rub my lucky yard gnome as you walk past
My concrete Buddha laughing in the grass

Wipe your feet before you step from your car
You're on hallowed ground you're in my sacred yard
Holy water in the bird bath to wash your sins
Now your forgiven, come on in

I got' a Silver Star of David and a stained glass moon
Sentential object's hanging in my room
Everything is sacred every breath of air
Be careful what you're thinking every thoughts a prayer

It's the ordinary day people you talk to every day
Incantations and prophecies from the mouths of babe's
You can talk about the weather or the foods you crave
It's the feeling you project, not the words you say

Wipe your feet before you step from your car
You're on hallowed ground you're in my sacred yard
Holy water in the bird bath to wash your sins
Now your forgiven, come on in

If you're searching for happiness try not to look so hard
Take you a lawn chair and go out in your yard
Stare straight up at the sky so blue
Yeah, God's in haven, but havens in you

Wipe your feet before you step from your car
You're on hallowed ground you're in my sacred yard
Holy water in the bird bath to wash your sins
Now you're forgiven, and I'm forgiven.
Well we're all forgiven
Come on in, come on in
Howdy Saint Pete . . . wipe your feet!

Discography

Heart & Soul (Solo Project) 2008
Drop in the Bucket (Zoe Speaks) 2008
I Ain't Lyin' I'm Tellin' You A Story (Solo Project) 2007
Soft Lies (Solo Project) 2003 / Re-Issued 2007
Birds Fly South (Zoe Speaks) 2002
Pearl (Zoe Speaks) 2000
APPALACHIA: A HISTORY OF MOUNTAINS AND PEOPLE - Shady Grove

Heart & Soul captures the emotional range of relationships from the angst of) teenage mothers (Young and Cool), to the sun-setting romance of an aging couple’s dream (Old Lover’s Dance). Not content with writing just ‘another a pretty tune’, Barrett weaves the kind of socio-political commentary into Born to Waste and Gimme, Gimme, Gimme that entices audiences to listen closely and listen to over and over again. Heart & Soul is produced by and includes performances by Dirk Powell, recently recognized for his Songs from the Mountain tour (with Tim O’Brien) and as musical consultant for the Academy Award-winning film, Cold Mountain.

Soft Lies was released in the early 90's, as a snapshot of a time period in his music. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered in one 24-hour stretch, and has a decidedly folk-rock feel.

I Ain't Lyin' I'm Tellin' You A Story is contemporary Appalachian storytelling. These stories are from his past and present. Mitch is a riveting teller, with many years experience working in front of audiences young and old.

The recording Pearl hints at the traditional Appalachian music but covers varied musical territory, with nods to contemporary acoustic, pop, and folk (with Carla Gover).

Birds Fly South produced by Grammy-nominated instrumentalist Bruce Molsky, features the artists (with Carla Gover) themselves on guitar, claw hammer banjo, and lap dulcimer, along with mandolinist Mike Compton (Nashville Bluegrass Band/Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack), guitarist Greg Martin (The Kentucky Headhunters), and others.

On this CD you'll find lively originals about truck-stop waitresses, adoption, and a mountain boy's search for spirituality, a revisiting of the traditional "Shady Grove" from the perspective of a mixed-race couple, introspective and soulful versions of classic traditional ballads, and some mountain-steeped covers of fiddle tunes and gospel songs from the artists' childhood.

The last, Zoe Speaks project "Drop In the Bucket" and his new solo project "Heart & Soul produced by Dirk Powell are available NOW!!

Mitch’s rendition of Shady Grove was featured in APPALACHIA: A HISTORY OF MOUNTAINS AND PEOPLE CD. Academy Award winning actress Sissy Spacek narrates the four-part PBS series weaves breathtaking scenes of the natural world together with compelling stories of human drama to create a deep and unprecedented look at America's mountain home. The first environmental history of any region, APPALACHIA features interviews with Barbara Kingsolver, E.O. Wilson and many others including native Cherokees.

Contact Mitch by emailing him at mitchbarrettmusic@hotmail.com
or bmbartistmgt@gmail.com

Set List

Typical 45-50 minute Set: Have enough original material to cover a couple of shows
Usually 5% traditional, 5% cover material and 90% originals)

Being an award winning singer-songwriter Mitch performers 90% original tunes. His cover tunes include those by such songwriters as John Prine, Dave Mallett, John Gorka, Guy Clark, Tom Waits, Steve Forbert, John Hiatt.

Born to Waste
Fightin' the Feelin'
Tell Me Tell Me
Elvis and the Indians
1/4 Past 11:00
She's Got A Reason
Small Things
Pearl
Cadillac Queen
Dyin' If I'm Lyin'
Almost Home
Shady Grove (revisited)
Viola
I Believe
Pretty Peggy-O
Gimme Gimme
Old Pete
Drop In The Bucket
Daddy's Tune
Sacred Yard