'American Roots singer and songwriter Cole Mitchell's work is an expression of a hard life, well lived. 'Kind of a sideways take on the music I'd heard as a kid hangin' around my grandmother's honky tonk in southern New Mexico. See, I was born in Billy the Kidd country,' says Cole. 'and raised in Hank Williams country.' Spending many of his formative years in Alabama, he moved back to New Mexico in his teens to work his parent's ranch near the Gila Wilderness. 'I never considered riding horses for pleasure,' he says only partly kidding. Cole worked alongside his dad from an early age and got a steady stream of country radio. He started entertaining himself by learning to play a guitar his folks gave him, and soon enough started picking out Cowboy traditionals, as well as the Frizzell, Cash, and other country tunes his father listened to. After discovering that 'other' music on rock and roll stations, Cole's rebellious nature was impressed and momentarily uprooted by such artists as The Stones and Faces. Until he learned how to blend the raucous style he was growing to love with the deep secure roots he had grown up with. So, full of piss and vinegar, he left home at sixteen to front a touring band that he'd impressed. Though he found the road invigorating, being of working man's stock Cole determined to get real about music, and about making a living. Soon, he was back in New Mexico working long hours on oilrigs. He made good, bought a ranch, and before long was trading horses and running cattle. But his restlessness again took hold of him, and the next thing he knew he was skinning carcasses in a slaughterhouse in a town he didn't know. Not finding that work particularly appealing, Cole next got involved in a rather nefarious border business. Sensing that nothing good was coming out of most of it, he hit the road again. Through his forty days and nights in the wilderness, Cole's constant companion was his guitar and music his best friend. Whether from good fortune or dumb luck he can't really say, but he eventually made his way north to Albuquerque where he soon came to the music establishment's attention as front man for Saddlesores. The Saddlesores went on to become a somewhat legendary roadhouse band specializing in their own brand of cow punk, a free wheeling mix of what Cole had been developing since his childhood. He fronted Saddlesores for some fifteen years stirring up powerhouse performances, writing and singing raucous, memorable songs that defied description and eventually came to be labeled, perhaps for lack of any available idiom, Americana. Tragically, Cole lost his eyesight in 1992. Deciding to take this part of his journey anew, Cole broke with Saddlesores and has been recording and touring largely solo since. His current work still bears the mark of that raw and original take on life that colored much of his work with Saddlesores. Cole's two solo CD releases are an expression of his transformation from a writer and front man for an iconoclastic, good time band to a poet and storyteller becoming more intimate with the raw honesty of life. During his travels along the highways and byways stretched between the Wild West and the Old South, he apparently learned a good bit by staying true to himself. Cole Mitchell's restless heart, and the people and places he's kept with him along the way, give his music an authenticity missing in too much of contemporary music. His heartfelt musings, dry humor, hard luck, and hard edge give these stories from the fringe of what's left of blue-collar America a genuine sense of real music, real life. Cole Mitchell. American roots. American real.'
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