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OLD CLOTH • Tom Mitchell

One of the many interesting things about living in Nashville is meeting people who have been writing songs, and good ones, all their lives. It's the nature of the arts that most people who pursue them do not end up making a living from them. Many people just give them up at a certain point, because they've gotten married or have had kids, or want to. There are frequently chapters to the story that involve drugs or alcohol, more so than your average citizen.

Regardless of the twists and turns in the road, there are also many artist types who continue to paint, to work on books, and to write songs while they do whatever else they must to raise their kids and simply to live, and one runs into more of the latter in Nashville than most towns around the world.

Since the home-recording revolution began a couple of decades ago and has grown better and more affordable every year, it's eminently possible for songwriters to make records of their songs, at home or in the home studios of friends. In some cases this is a blessed thing.

One of my favorite songwriters and record makers who has flown under the radar for decades is Tom Mitchell, whose latest record is called Old Cloth. Tom was a folkie on the scene in the '60s (when it truly meant something to be a folkie), in New York City, in L.A., and in Woodstock, and knew most everybody that mattered, whether they actually became famous or not. (And, as always, when you line up the lists of the ones who did and who didn't, it's pretty hard to make sense of the why of it. There are many factors in play.)

Old Cloth was produced and engineered by multi-instrumentalist Lex Price, who's been touring the world playing mandolin and guitar for Mindy Smith in recent years. Lex played a handful of instruments, miked a number of natural sounds in the process, and brought in some of our most eclectic players to freak the proceedings. Fognode played some lap steel and drums, Julie Lee sang some backup. Dave Jacques and Tim Mathis laid bass tracks, and Kyle Andrews played some keys and sang. Tom's supporters and aficionados come from various sectors of the music world, with a beautiful new-world old-school result. The songs, and Tom Mitchell's world-class baritone and fingerstyle guitar, speak for themselves, so check it out on the Listen page. And by all means, buy it here.

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