Elizabeth Mitchell (musician)
|Associated acts||Lisa Loeb,
Mitchell was the first new children's music artist signed to Smithsonian Folkways in the 21st century. She has released seven albums of children's music, including her 2006 release You Are My Little Bird, which was voted Best Children's Album of 2006 by Amazon.com. Mitchell has collaborated with musicians including Levon Helm, Dan Zanes, Ella Jenkins, Jon Langford, Lisa Loeb, and Ziggy Marley.
Early life and education
Mitchell was born in New York City in 1968. She graduated from Brown University in 1990. Soon after graduating from Brown, Mitchell moved to Brooklyn and got a job as an assistant teacher at the Roosevelt Island Day Nursery School in New York City. It was during this time that she discovered her love of making music with children. Elizabeth's first album of children's music, You Are My Flower, was recorded in a single afternoon in 1998 at the home studio of Warren Defever of the band His Name is Alive. It was not intended for commercial release, but after much word of mouth demand, she released the album on her and Daniel's record label, Last Affair Records.
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released Elizabeth Mitchell's album Sunny Day on October 5, 2010. Sunny Day features performances with Mitchell’s husband and musical partner, Daniel Littleton, their nine-year-old daughter Storey and Storey's cousins and friends. The album features two original songs written by Storey, and guest performers include Levon Helm, Dan Zanes, Jon Langford (Mekons), and the Children of Agape Choir of South Africa. Songs on the album range from traditional American folk songs, to Japanese and Korean nursery songs, to fresh new arrangements of popular songs.
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released Elizabeth Mitchell's album Little Seed in 2012. Little Seed features performances with Mitchell's husband, Daniel Littleton, daughter Storey, as well as other musical friends. The album is dedicated to Mitchell's interpretation of America's musical bard, Woody Guthrie, including the well-known track, "This Land Is Your Land." The album was nominated in the Best Children's Album category for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.
The album Blue Clouds was released by Smithsonian Folkways in October 2012. Mitchell's inspiration began from a bedtime story that her husband Daniel used to tell her daughter called "Land of the Blue Clouds." As with her previous albums, Mitchell collaborates with her husband Daniel, daughter Storey, and other musical family and friends. The album includes covers from various artists including Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie, and Bill Withers, as well as her own compositions.
You Are My Flower and You Are My Sunshine have since been re-released on Mitchell's own label, Little Bird Records. Her daughter Storey was born in New York City in 2001. At the suggestion of all-ages family music artist Dan Zanes, Smithsonian Folkways signed Mitchell as their first new children's music artist of the 21st century.
Mitchell can be heard singing a duet with Ziggy on his 2009 release Family Time.
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings released Elizabeth Mitchell's Christmas album The Sounding Joy on October 15, 2013. This collection of folk carols draws from Ruth Crawford Seeger’s 1953 songbook American Folk Songs for Christmas. The recordings focus on the celebration of Christmas before commercialization, an inclusive tradition of people sharing music, telling stories and celebrating together. The album includes Mitchell’s family, friends and neighbors, including Peggy Seeger, Natalie Merchant, Aoife O’Donovan, Amy Helm, John Sebastian, Dan Zanes, Happy Traum, and many others.
Mitchell records and performs with her husband, Daniel Littleton, and daughter, Storey Littleton, as well as violinist Jean Cook. They live in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.
- You Are My Flower - Little Bird Records, 1998
- You Are My Sunshine - Little Bird Records, 2002
- Catch the Moon w/Lisa Loeb - Artemis Records, 2004
- You Are My Little Bird - Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2006
- Sunny Day  - Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, October 2010
- Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie - Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2012
- Blue Clouds - Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2012
- The Sounding Joy: Christmas Songs In and Out of the Ruth Crawford Seeger Songbook  - Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2013
- Turn Turn Turn, 2013 with Dan Zanes
In popular culture
- Mason, Stewart. Artist Biography:Elizabeth Mitchell. Barnes&Noble Music.
- Ziggy Marley:Family Time. Amazon.com.
- Best of 2006:Children's. Amazon.com.
- Davis, Amy. Music for Little Birds:Elizabeth Mitchell. eMusic.
- You Are My Flower.
- Official site
- All Things Considered NPR interview with Melissa Block
- Video of "Green Green Rocky Road" on NPR's Bryant Park Project
- Land of Nod "Nodcast Podcast" with Ella Jenkins
- Video for Little Bird, Little Bird at Smithsonian Folkways site
- Maverick Concerts Interview
- Video for the album 'Sunny Day' at Smithsonian Folkways site