#selfieAs acoustic musicians go these days, Brian Oberlin (mandolin) and Luke Gitchel (guitar) have a chemistry like no other. They have been playing together for 15 years, yet each concert is full of new ideas as they spring and lope through songs, bouncing off each others nuances with a lively thrill. Their vocal harmonies are likened to brothers as they honed their skills together as teenagers playing in several different Michigan bands. They both grew up in music playing bluegrass on their respective instruments and they write their own songs in the bluegrass and swing genres. The Journeymen typically travel with a bass player and another local hot picker on banjo or fiddle when it is appropriate.

Luke Gitchel, originally from Howard City, MI,  began playing guitar at the age of 5. Since then he has excelled on any stringed  instrument he picks up because bluegrass is in his blood. At the age of 18, he won the WMBMA guitar and mandolin picking contest in Michigan. His powerful and spot-on rhythm/solo guitar playing adds to his choice lead singing.  He played with the infamous Wendy Smith for several years and he now plays with Mountain Ruckus in Pigeon Forge, TN. (Bluegrass band at Dollywood)

Brian Oberlin, originally from Rockford, MI., spends much of his time teaching mandolin and his own mandolin camp in Portland, OR. (River of the West Mandolin Camp) He also performs as a solo act around the pacific northwest playing anything from Vivaldi’s mandolin concertos with an orchestra, to performing western swing music at festivals and concerts. He also has started the Oregon Mandolin Orchestra which has 25 members all in the mandolin family playing American and European music. His swing chops on mandolin and crooning voice add a perfect fit to the sound of the Journeymen. Brian was a finalist at the 2003 Winfield mandolin championship and a member of the award winning band, Grasshoppah. mandoberlin.com oregonmandolinorchestra.org


Seth Sutton has always been in love with music.  From early on he would listen to his parents vinyl records over and over and over, seeming to keep in mind what he was listening to, as if  he were cataloging it for further use later down the road.  There was something in the music that spoke to him.

His mother gave him his first guitar in 6th grade and showed him a few chords to get him on his way.  He was satisfied for a time and soon found himself playing bass in the Jazz Band at his high school, meanwhile starting his own band, Big Al’s Coaster Club.  It was a traditional ska band, complete with a six piece horn section.  They would often play with another popular local ska band, Mustard Plug, which Seth would fill in with when needed.  During this time, Seth started playing the stand up bass in the Lansing Community College’s Jazz program and it was also at about this time that Seth began to recall the music from is childhood and take a sincere interest in roots music.  He dove head long into old time country, swing and ragtime.  He studied this genre for a time and sought out a band that could replicate that sound.

It was then that Seth moved to Greenville, MI and met Luke Gitchel and soon after, Dee Foster.  They clicked immediately and although Foster could not commit to the project at that time, Gitchel and Sutton decided to start a band together, and they did just that.  The Radiators came from that meeting.  It was a rough-around-the-edges, old timy, honky-tonk, swing band that was steeped in bluegrass.  The two of them, joined by Luke’s brother Clint on fiddle and on several occasions Foster, had moderate success on the regional music scene, playing several festivals and clubs throughout the Midwest until the road and personnel changes forced the band to regroup. Dee Foster was the first and most obvious choice as to where to start with the band’s regroup that eventually led to the formation of the Midnight Cattle Callers.

Although Seth’s main focus is MCC, he is also known for playing in two notable side projects: The Journeymen, based out of Portland, Oregon and features the talents of award winning Brian Oberlin (Grasshoppah, finalist at the Winfield National Mandolin Championship as well as the founder of the Portland Mandolin Orchestra.) and the Goldmine Pickers out of Goshen, Indiana; who’s 2006 song Conversation’s Free was used in a Nissan commercial and viewed in over 35 countries around the world.