I make guitar, slide guitar, pedal steel, lap steel, dobro, and mandolin noises! I specialize in indie rock and Americana. In addition to guitars and slide instruments, I love to create loops to bring ambient and soundscape elements into roots based music. Do you want to take your material to a more etherial and esoteric place? I'm your guy!
I'm Nashville based touring/session guitarist, producer, pedal and lap steel guitarist, and general slider of things. Ambient loops to add an extra layer on your track, blues-based slide guitar, a silky pedal steel backing up a singer/songwriter, a San Fransisco vibe, hints of North Indian music, Sonic Youth open-tuned attacks, tinges of African highlife, or David Lindley inspired melodic lap steel lines, you’ll find it here. Focusing on steel, I love bringing it to places it doesn't ordinarily live, and doing that without putting a cowboy hat on the track. This means ambient options and gritty, effects laden tracks. I also love to lay down loops, background pads, and atmospheric textures - with beds of feedback, looping, and tape recorders.
I've been touring and recording for the last decade, playing rock, reggae, jam-band, folk, indie, country, bluegrass, Americana, etc. Since moving to Nashville, I've recorded and toured with indie, country, and Americana bands around the world, playing both guitar and pedal steel. I record from my home studio where I can give you as many options as you need for your track.
Influences = Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead, My Bloody Valentine, Washed Out, Ry Cooder, Buck Owens, Sun Kil Moon, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Tony Rice, Bill Frisell, Greg Leisz, Clarence White.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
30 Reviews - 4 Repeat ClientsEndorse James Paul Mitchell
I asked James to add electric guitars to an acoustic track with a vintage indie folk vibe (which already had drums and bass) and he added three layers of electric guitars, one solo/lead part and two other backing parts - together they fit and boosted my track. This was a really awesome contribution to the song.
For my personal taste, and experience as guitarist myself, James Paul Mitchell has the ability to provide in the same artist: unique sound, flexibility to a specific arrangement, well mastered creativity. More over, I found a person able to be part of the music production process, giving useful ideas that do not involve immediately his task. I hope to work again, and again, with him.
Pleasure working with James..he delivered soulful parts that took the song the another level..highly recommended
Amazing talented player, great communicator, would work with again!
Excellent slide playing! Highly recommend James!!
James did an amazing job, super tasty playing, highly recommended!~
James is an extremely talented musician! Delivered a beautiful performance and sound on the pedal steel, making sure I got what I was looking for! Super easy to work with. I highly recommend him.
James is a great musician who gave extra effort on my project and had a very fast turn around. Big thumbs up!
James has become an essential part of a project I am working on. He created some incredible guitar layers that made me revisit and question my own parts. Working with James was an awesome experience. I cannot recommend him highly enough.
James is amazing; his pedal steel for our acoustic song with cello was beautiful; he followed instructions perfectly and is very professional; will use again. Highest recommendation. Thanks James, E
Jamie just has a great musical sense and gives the songs more depth. It also always brings beautiful fitting melodies. Again and again with pleasure. I'm already looking forward to the next time.
James is a super musical guitarist. He always gets to the point and arranges great parts. It makes him super easy to work with and the sound is great.
you can't do better than that. I embedded the guitars into my rough mix and it sounds like it could never have been any other way.
Without words, exact precision landing. No note too much. Everything fits perfectly into the arrangement.
Thank you James, it was so easy to communicate with you. Mega fast and you have a great intuition and of course a wonderful sound.
I was blown away by James. He gave me exactly what I was looking for with incredibly quick turnaround. I think the best thing is that he gave me takes with lots of musical personality and charisma, within the scope of what I was looking for.
Working with James once again was fantastic! He provided the perfect steel guitar parts for my songs. The parts themselves were gorgeous and he plays with real feeling. I look forward to working with him again!
James was amazing! I gave pretty vague direction for what I wanted and he went above and beyond. Super friendly and FAST turnaround. I received a sketch of ideas the evening I reached out to him. Great tone on the recording, plus he gave me extra options, and was very easy to communicate with. I would work with him again in a heartbeat!
James worked fast and I loved the results. 2nd time working with him, plan on hiring him again.
James tracked some gorgeous pedal steel parts for my song. They were exactly what I was looking for. I definitely look forward to working with him again. I highly recommend!
Interview with James Paul Mitchell
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: The Strat, Vibrolux, a microphone, an acoustic, and a coffee pot.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: In my experience, time and knowing how to use the gear you have is more important than lusting over that next mic, preamp, or guitar.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: These days, I have been focusing on playing steel with singer-songwriters who are looking for a more ambient or space vibe to their material. However, I feel lucky in that I am able to work with music that's all over the map in terms of genre.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I try to bring a set of fresh ears to any song I work on, in having a wide set of reference points from which to address the material.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I typically begin by picking out which instrument will best fit that song - whether that's steel, guitar, slide, etc. From there, I decide on a basic approach - am I going to provide the contrast in this song, or reinforce what's already there? After a few passes, I try to hone in on counter-melodies, and anything that will add hooks within the project.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I produced a record for Denver based folk band King Cardinal, on which I also played pedal steel. I'm very happy with the way that came out - 5 short and tight folk songs, ending with a final 28 minute drone piece. The contrast we were able to bring out between those two worlds is something I am still proud of to this day.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I record overdubs in my home studio. I have a simple setup - a set of condensers, ribbon, and dynamic mics, a UA Apollo, and 1073 preamp. My philosophy is to focus on musical output instead of gear, for me, knowing how to use the gear you have is far more important than having a fancy setup.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm inspired by musicians who known how to impart their own sonic space on a track, without overpowering the song and the vibe created by the recording itself. Musicians like Ry Cooder, David Lindley, Greg Leisz, and Bill Frisell are huge influences on the way that I approach a song. However, I also love the experience of breaking open a track in new ways - bring open tuned guitars and dissonance to what may previously have been a pedestrian arrangement. I try to think like a producer at all times - what's going to catch the year, and best build up this track to it's full potential.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I typically do remote overdub sessions of guitar and pedal steel from my home studio. My favorite experience is being in the studio with the artist present, but I am also very quick and responsive via phone or email for my remote clients.