James Paul Mitchell

Session Guitarist & Noisemaker

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7 Reviews (1 Verified)
James Paul Mitchell on SoundBetter

Guitar, pedal steel, lap steel, dobro, noises!

I'm James Paul Mitchell - Nashville based touring/session guitarist, producer, pedal and lap steel guitarist, and general slider of things. If you're looking for 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. I also love to lay down loops, background pads, and atmospheric textures - whether that's with beds of feedback, looping, tape recorders, or found sounds.

I've been touring and recording for the last decade, playing rock, reggae, jam-band, folk, indie, country, noise, 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 easily give you as many options as you need for your track.

Tell me about your project and how I can help, through the 'Contact' button above.

7 Reviews - 1 Repeat Client

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  1. Review by Sergio S.
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    Everything James did was perfect. Will hire him again.

  2. Review by Aaron Shafer-Haiss
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    Jamie was great to work with - super communicative, quick, and easy. His songs and playing are incredible and I hope we get to work together again ASAP

  3. Review by Cheyenne Medders
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    Jamie has a great ear and works near magic with his fingers. He uses interesting voicings and twines little melodies though parts that just make everything better and more alive. When I've worked with him he has commanded acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and pedal steel. Rumor has it he plays bass too. I highly recommend Jamie Mitchell.

  4. Review by Logan Muckler
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    I’ve been recording Jamie for years and he’s never failed to deliver great, tasteful performances with excellent tone. In addition to his broad musical vocabulary, he’s just a pleasure to work with. I’m always excited to have him playing on any production I’m working on!

  5. Review by Brennan Mackey
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    Jamie has played guitar and pedal steel on my last two records and it's been a fantastic experience both times. He always brings a unique vision pushes the songs to another level. His ability to move between styles is mind boggling. He's also just a great guy to hang out with. I will definitely hire Jamie again and wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone.

  6. Review by Scott R
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    James Paul Mitchell has one of the best recorded/live guitar tones I’ve ever heard! His fluidity of different styles and ability to communicate with me about my needs exceeded my expectations from a session player. Don’t hestitate to book Jamie as your guitarist, NOW!

  7. Review by Aaron Shafer-Haiss
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    I've hired Jamie to play electric and acoustic guitars and pedal steel and his parts are always right on the mark. Weather he is interpreting what I want him to play, or creating his own parts they always elevate my tracks beyond what I could have imagined. He's fast and super easy to work with. Combine that with his versatility and I see why you'd need to call anyone else!

Interview with James Paul Mitchell

  1. Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?

  2. A: The Strat, Vibrolux, a microphone, an acoustic, and a coffee pot.

  3. Q: Can you share one music production tip?

  4. 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.

  5. Q: What type of music do you usually work on?

  6. 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.

  7. Q: What do you bring to a song?

  8. 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.

  9. Q: What's your typical work process?

  10. 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.

  11. Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?

  12. 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.

  13. Q: Tell us about your studio setup.

  14. 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.

  15. Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?

  16. 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.

  17. Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.

  18. 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.

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JPM sampler

I was the guitarist + pedal steel-ist in this production

GenresSounds Like
  • Jackson Browne
  • Sonic Youth
  • Wilco
Gear Highlights
  • 1963 Fender Vibrolux
  • Tyler Amps PT-14
  • ZumSteel
  • vintage Supro lapsteels
  • 1954 D8 Fender Stringmaster
  • Stratocaster
  • Jazzmaster
  • Gibson 335
  • and a whole pile of pedals.
More Photos