Terry Mitchell

First appearing onstage as a wooden shoe in a fourth grade "Salute To Holland" pageant, Terry Mitchell has been a professional actor, singer, and writer - but guitar has always been his first love.  Born in the Philippines at Clark Air Force Base in 1953, his family moved all over the country while his father was still on active duty with the US Air Force.  2 years guitar study in elementary school didn't lead to much (if you really want those details, see The Early Years).  The family finally landed in Memphis in 1966 when his father retired from the Air Force.  Still, not much happened with the guitar until college.  (After college, quite a bit of performing as described in The Memphis Years.)

Two things happened in college:  discovering Leo Kottke and meeting Ricardo Fusco.  I never heard anyone play guitar like that - speaking of Kottke - I didn't know you could play a guitar like that. The search for a teacher led to 8 years' study with G. Ricardo Fusco starting in 1976;  Fusco inspired him to seriously work with and learn the instrument.  After Fusco's death in 1984, Mitchell studied with numerous well-known Memphis musicians, including a violinist, a violist, a pianist, and an orchestra conductor.  He served as Artist In Residence for Germantown, TN, from 1986-88 and as a Touring Artist for the Tenneessee Arts Commission from 1988 - 1991.


A lifelong singer, Mitchell became bass section leader and soloist for Palmer Episcopal Church in Houston in 1990.  He became a member of Actor's Equity, starring in the role of Burl Sanders in the Texas premier of the gospel/bluegrass musical Smoke On The Mountain at Stages Theater.  He continued to perform and compose for guitar; "Goodbye, Sexy Carol" won the Texas songwriting contest in 1990, and was featured on a sampler CD put out by Sound Arts Studio in 1991.  Continuing his guitar study, he had a few - but very productive - lessons with the eminent flamenco guitarist Valdimir Phoenix.  But from Houston, the trail led elsewhere.  Mitchell has a B.S. in Mathematics and M.S. in Operations Research; in 1992 he joined Lockheed Aeronautics Systems Co. as a systems programmer in 1992.  For many years, the guitar was put away.


In 2005 Mitchell began seriously practicing again, with the goal of returning to the studio and finishing that CD he had started so many years before.  In 2010 he began recording in Memphis, with the able assistance of Rick Caughron as studio engineer.  Took a while, but Good Touch, his first complete CD has just been released and is available through CD Baby.  Good Touch features 10 guitar instrumentals, 6 of them original.    Regarding his songwriting, Mitchell says "I'm not exactly prolific"  In that he reflects the motto of one of his favorite mathematicians, Carl Friedrich Gauss:  "Pauca sed matura"  ("few but ripe")  Fortunately, there is no shortage of great guitar music in the world, and Mitchell intends to continue recording works by other artists in addition to his own.  "Too much good music, not enough time," he says.  Point being - it isn't about him - it's about the guitar, music for guitar, and people who like guitar music.  "Music is what our emotions sound like," he says, "and the range of human expression is mirrored in the sonorities of the guitar. I try to remember, always, that the listeners are not distinct from the music being played - they are participants."    


News & Views

Good Touch is available through CDBaby.  See the Music page for more info and song samples.


8/26/16:  Guitar music featured during dinner hours for the 8th annual Mountain Resource Center Bowls event on Tuesday, October 18th. 

8/27/14:  Good Touch accepted by Pandora for inclusion in the Music Genome Project.  See the press release page for more information.

8/10/14:  Incomprehensible lyrics to 60's hit Along Comes Mary linked to Mayan hieroglyphs...see Blog for more...

7/1/14:  Audio pages updated to allow streaming of all songs from Good Touch in full.

6/7/14:  New blog entry describing recent experience with - scam, or legitimate service?  

4/1/14:  Radio Guitar  chooses "Mine/Her Dance" from Good Touch for their New Tracks playlist.