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Joe Mitchell, founder of GrooveSum, grew up in a musical family.
His dad, the Rev. Ian Mitchell, wrote the first guitar mass in America and went on to appear, as a guest of Steve McQueen, on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (that is a story for another time - ask Joe about it!). His mom, Caroline, joined his dad and they formed a duo called Father Ian and Caroline. Their mission was to spread awareness of social injustice through music both sacred and secular. The two recorded several albums and when Joe learned to play the drums, he joined the act. Father Ian wrote a mass called Morning Glory that was recorded in Nashville with the band Mother Earth. Eventually, Joe and his 3 sisters, Mary, Julie and Zanna joined the act and they toured all over the US, Europe and the Bahamas. Invariably, they were compared to the Partridge Family!
When the kids got old enough, they struck out on their own and formed a popular Indianapolis band which, at one point, included present members of John Mellencamp's band, Dane Clark and John Gunnell. They recorded an EP of Joe's tunes and received critical reviews for his song "Must Be You" from the Indianapolis Star and reviewer Mike Redmond. One of Joe's tunes, "Tears of Joy" was selected for a second place slot on a compilation album that went up against hundreds of submissions from area bands and was judged by Indianapolis celebrities, radio and newspaper personalities.
Several years ago, Joe relocated from Indianapolis to the Upper Valley in Vermont and New Hampshire and put together GrooveSum to showcase his ongoing catalog of tunes. His song, Binnie Boom Boom won a local contest and the song was turned into a video. The band consists of Joe on Guitar and vocals, Deano McCarthy on drums and moral support and Brain Peck on bass, vocals and comic relief. Their very first gig was opening for blues legend Ana Popovic at the Freight House Music Hall in White River Junction, VT. The band plays a blend of Joe's original music and cover material.
Inspired by his parent's social activism in the 1960's and '70's (they marched on Washington and performed with Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and others and participated in the Berrigan Brother's historic draft card burning rally), Joe's lyrics tend to be more focused on social concerns (Makin' it Up, House of Love, Tears of Joy, Raise Your Voice) than love songs but he has written his share of those, too. The idealism of the '60's that inspired Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and so many others was a powerful influence on Joe and his desire to use music to perhaps make the world a more harmonious place developed during his formative years watching his parents affect the world with their music. But Joe was also heavily influenced and inspired by the great music that was around when he was a kid. Music by Led Zeppelin, Sly and the Family Stone, Derek and the Dominoes, the Allman Brothers Band, the Rolling Stones, Santana and of course the Beatles filter into Joe's music.
Joe still believes in the power of music to positively affect the lives of his fellow travelers on Planet Earth and would love to write the next Stairway to Heaven, Sunday, Bloody Sunday or Let it Be. He's keeping his finger's crossed and continuing to write everyday until he achieves that goal!
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