Best Rock Band & Best CD Release of 2011: Brett Mitchell & the Giant Ghost 

Posted In: Arts & Entertainment, Local Music, Artist Feature, Review Music Awards,   From Issue 726   By: Robert 'Bo' White

19th May, 2011     0

Brett Mitchell and his band The Giant Ghost garnered two of the biggest honors at the 25th Review Music Awards ceremony: Best Rock Band and Best CD Release for their excellent Falling Apart at the Seams, which was produced by Andy Reed.  

Brett can rock with the best of them, but he's more of a pop rocker like Eric Carmen than say, Arcade Fire. Mitchell can write big ballads and pop songs but then add layers of hard rockin' guitar courtesy of the incredibly gifted Rick Manges. Brett is no slouch either. He not only fronts the band on guitar and vocals but he will take his turn on the drums, laying it down while he works the harp. It's a dynamic stage show that can never quite be captured in the studio.  

The band's stellar musicianship and professionalism are wrapped around Brett like a warm coat. These cats are gonna make sure Mitchell sounds good. If not, manager Jan Hecht will whip them into shape. In an era where most local bands do not hire managers and agents, Mitchell was savvy enough to land Hecht. She makes a difference and her efforts to advance Mitchell have yielded spectacular results.  

When asked about the awards, bassist Bill Hall commented, “To win both Best Rock Band and CD Release was a real surprise. There was stiff competition and we play out of town a lot, so I had never seen many of the bands we were up against. We are real busy and thanks to Jan we do over 100 dates a year. I did see Thick As Thieves and they're great. I was happy for Brett, I'm just trying to back him any way I can.”   

Brett Mitchell was surprised as well. “We were playing Diamond Jim's in Midland when Jan came in after leaving the Review Awards show. She never said anything at first so I thought 'oh, well, we didn't win' and then she walked up to the microphone and told everyone we got Best CD and Best Rock Band. It was sweet. I was surprised 'cos there's a lot of great rock bands out there. Bill would say we're not rock, we are medium rock. It reminds me of a phrase used on the television show Futurama, in which they labeled certain forms of modern music as vaguely focused alternative rock.” 

As for the bands mounting popularity, Hall feels that the band has developed its true identity.  It's about our tightness and dynamics within the band. We've been together for over three years and we can read each other's minds. We know what the others are going to do next by a facial expression, a nod, word or flick of a hand. Brett's diversity is a big plus. He can play several different instruments, all at the same time. But I have to give kudos to our manager Jan; she paves the road ahead of us, deals with all the logistics and makes it all work. She is the glue that holds it all together.” 

Mitchell has another view, “The Internet has really helped. I always thought I had the same 10 fans until I opened up a Facebook page. I'd like to think our new album had something to do with it. Andy (Reed) and I put a lot of work into it. I think playing 10 times a month and spreading the gigs out to all four corners of Michigan and beyond is going to help spread the word.” 

Hall is reflective about the future. “There are a lot of possibilities. I hope Brett sells one of his songs and makes the big time. Anything can happen at this point. We are looking for that lucky break.”  

Mitchell agrees, “We are trying to place our music into commercials or the Indie Movie scene. It's a strategy that has promise…a number of bands we know are moving in that direction. Internet radio is emerging as a force. Recently I interviewed with a station out of New York. We came close a couple of times. Gone are the days of signing a three record deal and getting major label financing and support. I'll never be the flavor of the month but I hope to get some songs placed. I'd also like to get involved with Michigan's Festival circuit.” 


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