Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST

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Rock, Pop, AAA, pop rock/folk rock Acoustic, Americana, Singer songwriter, Folk rock More...


Midland MI United States

Sounds Like

eclectic pop rock/folk rock w/ a little classic 70s feel

Digital Location


Member since: 05/16/2012 Year Founded: 2004


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Brett Mitchell


Singer / Songwriter 989.430.8585 [email protected]


  • Original material: 04 hrs : 00 min
  • Cover material: 05 hrs : 00 min
  • CDs released: 5
  • CDs sold: 5300
  • Digital songs sold: 350
  • Original Songs: 40
  • Average Draw: 50
  • Largest crowd: 450
  • Have sound: Full PA
  • Licensed songs: 6


Award winning Michigan singer/songwriter, Brett Mitchell, along with his band, the giant GHOST, is ripping up the Midwest with his live must-see show. Brett, born (too late) and raised in Midland, MI picked up the sticks in his early teens & fell in love. Drumming professionally by age 17 in a variety of bands, he began songwriting.

To assist his writing, he taught himself guitar & by 2005 had recorded his debut album called {Stereo}, playing virtually all the instruments. One by one musicians approached him to support his live performance & the giant GHOST, Brett’s talented backing band, was formed. The giant GHOST consists of Steve Tschaikowsky on bass, Marko Musich on electric guitar, Loren Kranz ( previously with the Ragbirds) on keys and drums when Brett's on acoustic. In 2007, Brett released his 2nd project, Small House, which includes the popular track, Born Too Late, and introduced his award winning Born Too Late video.

His heartfelt & sincere songwriting is not the only draw; the live show is literally riveting with Brett singing lead from the drums and/or acoustic guitar and playing multiple instruments at the same time. Brett’s third album, Falling Apart At The Seams, released to rave reviews and he is making plans to enter the studio with his already written fourth project. For more information (Brett plays over 150 shows per year, band and solo) visit the official website

Brett is a maniacal world class drummer. You can see him holding a solid beat for his side project, GUTBUCKET, based in NYC. GUTBUCKET is a power trio with Michigan Idol winner and electric guitar virtuoso, Dave Kellan, from NYC and Jacob Krull, bassist (Hey Marco!) from Grand Rapids. Check them out at

WYCE radio - live interview on Local Spins

May 29, 2015
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John Sinkevics


The supremely talented Brett Mitchell in the Local Spins Artist Spotlight...Mitchell has established himself as an in-demand musician, from Grand Rapids to Traverse City and beyond, playing Rockford Brewing in downtown Rockford with his band at 8 tonight (Friday). He also plays Docker’s in Muskegon at 7:30 p.m. Saturday before swinging up to Traverse City’s Harbor 22 on Wednesday.

He stopped by the studios of WYCE-FM (88.1) this week to chat about his music and perform a couple of songs on the air — the title track from “Falling Apart at the Seams” and a catchy new tune, “Almost But Not Quite (It’s the Story of My Life).”

The singer balances solo acoustic guitar gigs with performances featuring his band, with Mitchell playing drums and singing at those shows.
Mitchell moved to Alden last year, after long hankering to settle in the Traverse City area. He lives without a computer or cable television, and says the isolation of his home can spark ideas for a songwriter. “I just sit and things come,” he says, noting he’s “inspired by life itself.”

Northern Express

October 13, 2014
Kristi Kates

Brett Mitchell Sews Up Another Album

He’s lyrically influenced by John Lennon, Jeff Tweedy, Ben Folds and Neil Young. Musically, you’ll hear hints of Jeff Lynne, Elvis Costello, Weezer and Wilco.

He’s a drummer turned guitarist turned singer-songwriter, and the Midland, Mich native is also recently transplanted to Alden, just outside of Traverse City.

He’s Brett Mitchell and he knows how to stitch together some standout music from a wide range of materials.

“I usually tell people my music is folky, indie pop-rock—whatever that even means any more,” Mitchell laughed. “I have an eclectic taste in music, so I think that comes through in my songwriting. I don’t like to pump out the same formula, and I’m not a good storyteller, so my lyrics are more metaphorical and poetic, describing feelings more than telling a story.”

His drumming started the ball rolling initially, laying the foundation for his transition to multi-faceted musician. He’s already on album number three and he performs his originals live with his band, stylized as Brett Mitchell & the giant GHOST.


“I’m known more as a drummer in Midland, but the guitar made its way into my hands because it’s the main instrument my friends always seemed to have around, so I taught myself how to play,” Mitchell explained.

After his parents gifted him an acoustic guitar, he immediately began writing songs and trying to decipher other songs that he liked.

“I think that’s where I made the official transition from having my interest in drums shift to guitar—when I started writing songs and singing,” he explained.

As a drummer-turned-songwriter, he benefits from usually being able to write songs with the drum part simultaneously in his head. This has helped him develop strong rhythm guitar skills, adding even more depth to his latest album, Falling Apart at the Seams, which he recorded at Reed Recording in Bay City.

“I’ve recorded two albums with Andy Reed,” Mitchell said. “He and I share a love of a lot of the same music and sounds, so it was a dream to make.”

Mitchell plays drums on every track but one and he snagged Reed to contribute bass. “We made a pretty good team,” Mitchell said.

The album took five months to record and several more to master and mix. Mitchell himself designed the artwork, a witty embroidered and stitched image.

An audio thread—pun intended—runs through Falling Apart at the Seams, as every track carries Mitchell’s distinct vocals and arrangement style; but the album also carries a theme derived from its title.


“There are at least three breakup songs on the album,” Mitchell said. “At the time I was feeling very worn. The title track itself is the theme: to be completely unraveling, but also letting go at the same time, letting it happen and not caring so much about being ‘put together well.’ It’s about going in and out of relationships and not taking a second to mend yourself.”

The dense guitars of “Dead-End Lover” sit alongside the hooky “I Used to Think of Her” and the Ben Folds-inspired title track. The Marshall-Crenshaw-reminiscent “Typical as Time” and the ‘60s feel of “The Other Side” are other standouts. It isn’t a maudlin set, in spite of the subject matter; many of the tracks are made even more interesting by the fact that the pop melodies belie the darker sentiments lyrically residing underneath.

“I’m usually inspired by pain and suffering,” Mitchell said wryly, “but somehow turning it into a catchy little tune helps the medicine go down.”

Inspired by northern Michigan’s natural beauty (“since an early age, I’ve been in awe of it up here,” he said about relocating to Alden), Mitchell’s next album, which he plans to record this winter, might be a little less painful.

“Besides the incredible views and scenery up here, you have people who really seem to be passionate about community and culture, and want to hear original music,” he said. “I am absolutely honored to be among such talent. I really dig it.”

Local Spins

September 18, 2014
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John Sinkevics


The award-winning northern Michigan singer-songwriter has ridden the highs and lows of the business to build an avid fan base. For the past decade, Michigan singer-songwriter Brett Mitchell has weathered the ups and downs of life as a full-time touring musician, from the fan accolades, appreciative audiences and critical acclaim to less-than-attentive bar crowds and long hours spent on the road. He even had his guitar, clothes and other belongings stolen in New York City last year, forcing him to cobble together gear and eventually invest in new equipment, thus delaying studio work on a new studio album.

But Mitchell, who now makes his home in Alden northeast of Traverse City, wouldn’t think of doing anything else. Music is his life and passion.
“For every musician that works hard and puts all the money that they make scraping by back into their equipment, to have that happen is pretty devastating,” Mitchell says of his burgled gear. “But we bounced back and it’s water under the bridge now.”
It helps, of course, that Mitchell has established himself as in-demand musician, from Grand Rapids to Traverse City to Saginaw and beyond.
“I’m very fortunate and lucky and thankful that I can do it full-time. But it’s also hard work,” says Mitchell, a Midland native who says his pop-hued rock and power pop was inspired by the likes of late ’70s artists such as Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Joe Jackson.
“When you start to play more throughout the years, venues start to recognize the music, recognize the buzz that you’re getting from your music and your group. Once that starts happening, it’s a little easier to be successful because it just keeps flowing and you don’t have to look around for places to pay anymore. They start coming to you and that’s a pretty awesome place to be.”

The singer balances solo gigs with performances featuring his band, the giant GHOST – bassist Steve Tschaikowsky, electric guitarist Marko Musich and keyboard player Loren Kranz, with percussionist Mike Cramton on hand for some shows. Mitchell plays drums and acoustic guitar, often alternating between both for live performances.
Earlier this week, he stopped into the studios of News Talk 1340 AM (WJRW) for Local Spins Live to chat about his career and perform a brand new song, “Point of the Pace,” on the air. Check out a podcast of the show here and a video of his performance below.

Mitchell moved to Alden last year, noting he’d long hankered to settle in the Traverse City area, and lives without a computer or cable television. He concedes he depends heavily on longtime manager Jan Hecht for bookings and publicity.
“In Traverse City alone … in one day you could see three or four amazing musicians or groups within a block. It’s just ridiculous,” he says of northern Michigan’s vibrant music scene. “In a week, there’s music every day of the week of musicians that in my opinion can be or should be signed, or whatever that even means anymore — people that should be out there and appreciated more.”
Starting as drummer who earned his first dollar from a bar gig at age 17, Mitchell quit high school to play music. He eventually earned his GED and attended Saginaw Valley State University, before leaving during his junior year to pursue a career as a musician and songwriter.
“I’m still at it,” he says of performing and writing songs that he considers musical poetry. “Though I’ve had some meager times with the recession and all, I was able to survive.”

Indeed, Mitchell has survived quite well, playing more than 150 shows a year, releasing three studio albums (“Stereo,” “Small House” and “Falling Apart at the Seams”) and being named critics’ choice songwriter of the year as well as fans’ choice for best male vocalist, best solo artist and best songwriter by the Saginaw-based magazine, The Review.
He’s also involved as a drummer in a side project, Gutbucket, with high school pals Dave Kellan of New York on guitar and Jacob Krull of Grand Rapids on bass. Mitchell describes that band as a more “aggressive blues, funk-rock” outfit that offers him with a completely different sort of musical outlet.
And fans can expect a new solo album within the next year, with much of that project likely recorded in the Traverse City area.
“It will be more eclectic than the last album,” he says, noting 2011’s “Falling Apart at the Seams” was “more thematic and structured as far as sound goes.”

For more about Mitchell, his upcoming schedule and to purchase his music, visit

Review Magazine (Great Lakes Bay publication)

May 09, 2013
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Robert Martin


For singer/songwriter Brett Mitchell, success is a juggling act balanced by hard work, persistence, and passion. He is no stranger to being honored by fans at The Review Music Awards, having won numerous honors over the years beginning with the band Gutbucket, which he formed with guitar virtuoso Dave Kellan over a decade ago and cut his teeth with drumming professionally and touring by the age of 17. Now at the age of 30, Mitchell has truly come into his own, having secured honors at the 2013 RMA's for Best Solo Artist and Best Male Rock Vocalist, as well as both a Popular and Critic's Choice Award for Best Songwriter.

Mitchell has been described as 'the new millennium's version of Marshall Crenshaw', only that description falls short to explain the multi-leveled approach towards instrumentation that Mitchell has mastered - he is a veritable one-man band with his solo work, drumming and playing guitar simultaneously while singing with all the tonal inflection one could hope for.

To assist his songwriting, Mitchell taught himself guitar and by 2005 recorded his debut album, Stereo, playing virtually all instruments. One by one musicians approached him to support his live performances, and his band The Giant Ghost was formed. In 2007 Brett released his second original CD project, Small House, and his most recent 2011 release, Falling Apart at the Seams, received rave reviews in national publications such as Spin Magazine.

In the aftermath of attention basking in the limelight of his 2013 RMA achievements, recently I caught up with Mitchell to discuss his reaction along with his future plans to augment the momentum that his musical creativity is receiving.

Review: You managed to secure four awards this year: Best Solo Artist, Male Vocalist, and Best Songwriter in both the public choice and critic's choice divisions; so I'd like to explore each of these with you. What do you feel are the key qualities that define a good solo artist?

Mitchell: I think the song repertoire is important because it's just you, a one guy show. When I'm listening to a solo artist if they are just playing the same stuff that everybody else plays I lose interest quickly. Also, there needs to be some entertainment “quality” to the artist. Because you're only one person, you have to keep the crowd entertained so you have to be a skilled performer. It's a bonus if you are a multi-instrumentalist . Adding anything to make the sound bigger, such as harmonica, along with guitar, is a plus.

Review: What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing solo work as opposed to performing with a band?

Mitchell: The advantages of performing solo are that you can transition into any other song and not worry about whether your band members can follow you…like at the drop of a hat; less stress as far as set up and tear down; and you can play a bigger variety of venues because you can squeeze in any corner and play, which you can't do with a band.

The disadvantages of a solo performance include the obvious one - that it limits your performance; there are certain songs and things you just cannot do all by yourself. Another disadvantage is that you don't have any room for lagging during the actual performance, you have to be on top of every second of every song. When you have, for example, a party crowd and people are getting into the music and they want to party and rock, sometimes as a solo artist, you can't really bring that next level to the table. There's only so much you can do. Also, there are certain songs, originals or covers, I like to play that I have to do my own spin on because, solo, they will never sound like the real song.

Some solo artists use a vocal harmonizer or a drum machine, but what I like to do is set up my bass drum and high hats with a tambourine just to keep a simple beat while I play guitar and harmonica. This helps to emulate a bigger sound and it opens up more doors to be more entertaining as a solo artist. People seem to dig the “one man band” thing. However, I don't feel it's necessary to do that at all shows. At singer/songwriter showcases sometimes one person and a guitar creates an intimacy with the audience that is just as effective.

Review: Over the years your reputation as a songwriter has steadily grown as your material has evolved. What are some of the factors that you feel go into creating a good song that is memorable and carries impact?

Mitchell: Well, fortunately there is no one simple formula for a great song. For me, it seems like songs sometimes sprout out of an idea but then there are times when I actually have to put some work into a song, sit down and work through it until I feel like it's good enough. However, the catchiness factor of songs lies in melody - a familiar melody that can stick in your head. As far as lyrics go it has to be simple but yet universal to have an impact. I think one of the most important factors in creating a great song, is portraying your artistic expression GENUINELY. Even if it doesn't seem to be necessarily traditionally the hit song type, more so than the catchiness and familiarity characteristics, it's the earnest intention of the songwriter that can ultimately make the song memorable or have impact on a listener.

Review: What are some of the goals that you strive for when creating your own material?

Mitchell: I should have a specific goal but what makes my own material my own is that it's just from my own head, from my own ideas. Sometimes my goal can just be making sense of it in my head. Songwriting for me is an outlet; it's my way of life and therapy of making sense of my life, I guess. If there's ever a goal it would be coming up with something I feel represents me.

Review: Although you won 'Best Male Vocalist', you also have a solid reputation as a drummer, guitarist, and overall musician. What qualities do you feel distinguish you as a vocalist?

Mitchell: Like you mentioned, I'm a drummer that started writing songs, a Dave Grohl of sorts, but I never, ever thought I was a singer. I would consider myself a songwriter over a singer. I'm always trying to challenge myself vocally by taking on songs with keys that sound like they might be out of my range but aren't, but I always kind of feel like singing is my weakest musical skill.

What I've found throughout the years of growing as a musician, though, is people seem to think I have a unique voice. That makes me realize how many iconic singers have contributed to the musical universe such as Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Jimi Hendrix, Carole King, I could name about 1000 more, singers that aren't necessarily in the traditional sense “great vocalists” but are cherished by listeners because of their voice. That seems to be what distinguishes me as a vocalist. I'll be the first one to say I can't sing half of the stuff that I wish I could but that doesn't keep me from wanting to continue to sing for the love of music and, also, for the people who seem to enjoy it.

Review: What are your plans for the upcoming summer and year ahead? You've worked in bands like Gutbucket and the Giant Ghost and also pursued solo work; do you plan to continue working with each of these avenues?

Mitchell: There are a lot of cool festivals I'm going to be playing this summer such as Dunesville, Ann Arbor Summer Fest, Harbor Beach Maritime Festival and other beachy, summer hot spots around the state, both with a group and solo. I'm always moving forward, wanting to expand my sound and looking for the people who are interested in playing my original music with me. I think being a singer/songwriter/frontman allows me to play with a variety of different groups rather than only playing with the same 3 or 4 guys; it helps keep things interesting and fresh and challenging. I just recently traveled to Nashville for some solo shows and plan on continuing to travel. I will be playing with Gutbucket for a few shows in NYC soon. My first love will always be drums so I am always interested in playing with other groups as a drummer.

Review: What is your reaction to being honored with these awards? And feel free to add any additional thoughts on any topic that I may not have touched upon.

Mitchell: The fan voted awards make me feel like 'Wow, I have great fans that like my music' and that's such a good feeling to know that people are actually paying attention to what you're doing. I am sincerely flattered with all the awards, but especially with the Best Male Vocalist because I never, ever considered myself a singer. However, the Critics' Choice Songwriter award was a huge surprise because it's voted by a panel and that made me feel appreciated and it gives some sort of validity to the hard work that I've put in. It's important to me that I am appreciated among the musical fellowship of this community because I've grown up looking up to so many artists in this area who are still writing and entertaining and of whom I have great respect and admiration, so it makes this award all the more special.

The future is wide open because I am hoping to start a new chapter in my career, making plans to expand the giant GHOST, taking on some more players to make the sound fuller, focusing on a group that showcases my original music. I have an album's worth of material to start recording again soon, hopefully within the next 6 months, and I can't wait to get going on that project.

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