By Nick Christophers
Damon Mitchell was raised on radio, literally, as his home was filed with the sounds of Chicago, The Beach Boys, The Carpenters and so on. In addition to those legends southern gospel music played a role in his musical upbringing. Growing up he was attracted to the guitar and mastered it in no time. While traveling with his father at 9 years old they listened to the album “Like A Brother” for a full summer. Damon was attracted to the vocals of Gerry Beckley from America. Gerry’s talent only fueled Damon’s desire to pursue music.
In his travels as a guitarist and songwriter he would have a memorable moment that would stay with him forever. It would be fourteen years after he listened to Gerry Beckley’s voice that he would share the stage with him in 2018 during an America concert. Damon was a guest guitarist during their encore performance of the track “A Horse With No Name”.
“There was a very surreal moment where he looked at me and smiled; I thought to myself “holy crap, that is Gerry Beckley!” It was such an honor and I have been fortunate enough to do it a second time. This past February they had both my father and I sit in with them in Shipshewana, Indiana. That was a “full circle” moment for me.”
Damon would soon take his talents to another level as he released his debut EP “Elise” in March of 2019. His music has been compared to such rock legends like Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Aja and Fagen. That is a grand comparison that Damon hopes to honor through his music. In the middle of recording his record he visited Sean Geyer’s home who sang background vocals on the track “Heist”. While listening to an Aja record is when he picked up some ideas on chord structures, progressions, and styling in pop music. This discovery would soon be applied to his compositions.
On this specific record he worked with a crew of seasoned professionals like Charlie McCoy, Nick D’Virgilio, Dave Martin and Tris Imboden. Nick D’Virgilio was the drummer of the band Spock’s Beard and considered one of the best drummers of our time. He plays on three of the tracks off the EP. Charlie McCoy played on the Bridge Over Troubled Waters album a legendary project. Another renowned drummer who played on the EP was Tris Imboden formerly of Chicago and Crosby, Stills &Nash. Dave Martin produced the EP at Sweetwater Studios. Martin himself is an award winning bassist.
The title of the EP “Elise” has a hidden personal touch that Damon is keeping to himself for now. The project crosses many genres that give it that mix of old and new sounds. Even though he received some warnings that it may not be wise to put out a “variety record” in his heart he knew it would work. Damon compares his idea to works like “The White Album”. For this twenty–two year old artist this is only the beginning of what wealth of music is due to come.
Categories: Profiles of Interesting New Yorkers