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Kevin C. Mitchell's sound advice

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Kevin C. Mitchell is a Colorado Springs activist, poet and emcee with a lengthy musical track record. The former frontman of Fidel RedStar, he’s also a member of A Black Day, AlreadydeaD, Accumen1 (with The Reminders’ Big Samir), Kevin Mitchell & Lord Damage and, most recently, Company 8. Meanwhile, on the community front he’s put together events on behalf of numerous organizations: the NAACP, Empowerment Solidarity Network, COS CAN, Front Range John Brown Gun Club, SURJ, Pikes Peak Womxn for Liberation and many more. “My passion is the arts and community-building,” says Mitchell, who also channeled his revolutionary spirit into a debut poetry collection, Words From a Field Negro, which was published this past May. We caught up with Mitchell recently to talk about a handful of his favorite recordings.

First record I bought with my own money: The Clash’s Combat Rock. My older brother Greg would play the shit out of “Rock the Casbah” and he got me hooked.

“Wish I’d written that” song: Any song by Stoney Bertz. They are pure genius and poetic in songwriting, the delivery, forget about it. They ride beats like the beats crafted themselves around the words as they were spoken.

“Wish I could unhear that” song: Ugggh, it would have to be “Abracadabra” by the Steve Miller Band. Once it’s in there, it never leaves your head. It’s torturously catchy.

Artist more people should know about: Maura McAndrew. She’s a hidden quirky alternative indie gem from Illinois who my partner in crime hipped me to. Her album Songs From a Ranch House put me in a simple quiet place. It silenced the roar of the city and took away anxieties.

Guilty pleasure: “Stir Fry” by Atlanta rap group Migos. When I need to let go of the heavy, or take a moment away from the activism, this puts me in club night mode.

Essential Saturday night listening: Saturday night is meant for Atlanta singer/emcee 6lack. His album Free 6lack is what I play in the whip as I maneuver through the nighttime streets of the Springs. I heard this cat at Grandoozy and it has rarely left my player since. It’s a gritty tale of life and love. If I wrote an autobiography, it would read like this album sounds.

Essential Sunday morning listening: Sam Cooke, the realest to ever do it! He never overdoes it, tells it like it is in this beautifully focused soulful way. I love tragic-sounding tunes, and he has this way of coming off melancholy even on a “happy” track.

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