Town of Birth: I was born on a Thursday in Richmond, VA
Occupation/Job/Life Purpose Work: I'm a painter, but I haven't sold many paintings lately. It's not a steady job.
“In one way or another, I will play music for the rest of my life. I'm quite excited to be playing mandolin on the front porch into old age, even after I've forgotten my children's names and left my pants in the oven. Music puts a smile on my face and probably cures cancer.”
Charlie Mitchell is a refreshing change of pace. The smell of freshly cut grass. A crisp seam on newly ironed pants, the psssch of a cracked can. Charlie Mitchell is the perfectly worn-in shoe. A dewy, plump tomato.
Actually, tomatoes are a theme across Charlie’s creative work (inspired by his grandmother’s garden), as evidenced by his band’s name, tomatoband, and even the second track off of “Routine Interactions” called “Playing Ketchup.” tomatoband is an experimental, psychedelic jam band with elements of electronic funk, jazz, and humor - the latter exhibited through off-kilter lyrics and unexpected storytelling.
Since relocating to Charleston in 2017, tomatoband have released two albums, have been nominated for the City Paper’s jam band of the year title two years running, and have oozed their flavorful melodic sauce onto the scene. Charlie’s acoustic performance of “Evening in the Garden, Late Spring” gives off a much different vibe from tomatoband’s typical work, but in it he maintains his unique voice… and extends a tomato cameo.
Listening to “Evening in the Garden, Late Spring” is like being invited to take a stroll around Charlie’s mind. Like holding hands and skipping through light showers and sun. It is a 3 minute long sigh. A comforting whisper.
Why do you think people like to dance when they listen to music?
Music is such a strange phenomenon because we are all drawn to it in one way or another but we don't know exactly why. I think it’s the same way with dancing. After I quit smoking, I didn't feel very cool anymore, any my dance moves suffered as a result. It’s a confidence thing, and nothing gives you confidence like a Marlboro.
You are chilling on a Tuesday afternoon in CHS area, where are you and what are you doing?
If it's Tuesday afternoon, I like to be outdoors. That usually means getting out to Folly Beach or, if I'm downtown, Hampton Park. I check the surf in the duck pond at the park and if there are no waves -- or the if local ducks are overly aggressive --I'll head out to Folly for a drink and a bite where the locals are a bit more convivial.
Do you actually eat tomatoes? and if so, what is your fave dish?
I actually love tomatoes! Picking a favorite dish would be impossible as the tomato is such a versatile fruit. However, the best tomatoes should be eaten raw, with salt and pepper.
Sleep on your back, side or stomach?
I used to sleep on my side or my back but now that I'm an adult I don't sleep anymore, I just worry about things.
Do you have something that brings you great comfort?
Meditation brings me the most comfort, although Creme Brûlée works, too.
“Playing with other people always makes me a better player. I have learned everything I know from other players and I'm very privileged to play in a band with three other students of music. We explore sound and time together, but the best thing is that we have fun doing it.”
Charlie wrote ‘Evening in the Garden, Late Spring’ specifically for Lyric Lounge and, from the cloud of self-imposed deadline hovering over his head, emerged a song exuding optimism and relief.
It’s easy to complain.
There’s never enough, that’s too much.
It’s easy to ignore.
The weather is changing but it’s comfortable indoors.
But outside in the garden, tomatoes catch the light.
A trellis-full embellished by the sun when it hits just right to my eye; I sigh.
I think you would agree, it’s a marvelous place to be.
You’ll see every shade of green in the evening sun.
Outside in the garden, in the dying light of spring, is where I go when I am closing in on the end of my string.
Editor in Chief: Becca Finley
Profile + Lyric Intro: Caitlin Billard