Mike’s fiddle has been in Mitchell hands since at least 1890, when his
great-great grandfather, DJ, carved his name in the one-piece back.
Mike learned his music from the voice of his mother,
the sound of her piano, and the harmony of Sunday hymns….
it was the most natural thing in the world
for him to take up “Grandpap’s” instrument.
A wild and unruly boy, Mike would not finish his classical training
with Maria Reidstra, or his music major at university.
Instead, he found his own voice with the DeadHeads,
the Jam Band scene, and the pre-Americana music of the last century.
As a young man, Mike moved back to the land and found his home
on the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It was natural that the Old-time and Bluegrass music of the Virginia Hills spoke to him, calling him to learn the secrets, the origin of the ancient tones, and the history of those who invented it.
This was his journey–of place and belonging, family and heritage,
but most of all, music—
the river that would continually cross his path again and again,
demanding to be heard, played, understood, and shared.