The Mitchell Toll Band is coming to town

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By Scotty McDaniel

 Attention Shelbyville -- A musical revolution is about to begin.

  "We are the Mitchell Toll Band," Brent Mathis stamped as he spoke his message proudly, as if he were in front of hundreds of adoring fans instead of on the phone with a small-town reporter.

  But the band soon will have a larger audience, as it goes front and center at the Shelby County Community Theatre on March 27.

  Randomly started a couple months ago, Shelby natives Micah Fitzgerald, Erik Johnson and Mathis play some cover tunes but primarily share their own original songs.

  Fitzgerald is the writer of the group and offers lead vocals, guitar, mandolin and percussion. Johnson works the bass and percussion, and Mathis is on guitar, percussion -- or as he put it, "I hit some drums."

  "Micah writes most of the songs; we write music to go with it," he said. "It's kind of a folky-type thing, but it's not real country folky."

  The band's relaxing rhythms range from fun songs like "Cocaine & Pepsi" with Fitzgerald's soulful singing of the chorus "Cocaine and Pepsi ain't no meal" - to the acoustic love story of "Franklin and Thelma".

  The latter shows a Harry Chapin-like ability to make the audience feel a story. With a soothing melody the true tale of Fitzgerald’s grandparents, World War II veteran Franklin and his girl Thelma, is told with lyrics such as  "I died over there in Germany/And she brought me back to life," leading to the echoing chorus of "That's what love is/It's what it's for/The kind of thing you never thought would happen before."

  Just a couple weeks ago the band played at Sixth and Main Coffeehouse, but when the band hits the theater, Mathis expects a larger crowd.

  "It's kind of a debut thing, some exciting upbeat stuff and some downbeat stuff -- a couple covers and a good mix," he said.

  Doors open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7. Aaron Shupert will be the opening act. Admission will be $5.

  "I think we're trying to start a revolution of music in Shelbyville," Mathis concluded. "We want to make Shelbyville more arts-oriented."