Commentary
12:30 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

A Musical Life: Curt Mitchell

Singer/songwriter Curt Mitchell was raised in rural Kansas. His music is rooted firmly in the Alt-Country, Americana genre. Today he makes his home in Wichita where he continues to write and perform.

At a young age Curt developed an appreciation for the likes of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and George Jones through his father and was exposed to the likes of Bob Dylan, The Band and The Rolling Stones through his uncles. Both his uncles and father were musicians.

Over the course of 30 years Mitchell has played in everything from country cover bands to alternative rock outfits, finally finding his voice as a solo acoustic singer and songwriter. In recent years, Mitchell has appeared on the local PBS program Wichita Sessions and had a song appear on the most recent Moreland and Arbuckle record, 7 Cities.

My name is Curt Mitchell and I’m a singer-songwriter. I grew up in a house where it was just kind of understood that Hank Williams was the greatest songwriter that ever lived.

I picked up the guitar because I wanted to write songs. When I heard Bob Dylan, I wanted to be Bob Dylan. When I heard Townes Van Zandt, I wanted to be Townes Van Zandt. And that nearly killed me. One of the things that I try to do in my songwriting is to apply a certain vagueness. And that allows the listener to be a part of that narrative.

Songwriting, for me, is a deeply personal, spiritual endeavor. When what you do resonates with others? Well, that’s just gravy.

It’s been said that there’s no money above the fifth fret.

For myself, the vernacular is a very Midwestern vernacular. And it’s a very plain vernacular. I’m trying to write from the standpoint of a common person. That’s where my art lies. I think that if you’re trying to write a heavy metal song your vernacular’s going to be different than if you’re trying to write a country song.