Gene Mitchell

Gene Mitchell was born in the coastal town of Brunswick, Georgia. He began his musical career in the mid-'70s, performing with various bands in Georgia and Florida. With the advent of disco, fewer clubs were hiring rock bands, so Mitchell started performing as a solo act, singing originals as well as songs by Jim Croce, Dan Fogelberg, Harry Chapin, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, and other great singer/songwriters of the era. In 1978, attracted by the financial security and educational benefits it had to offer, Mitchell joined the U.S. Navy, figuring that after four years, the disco scene should have faded and he could return to Georgia to pursue music once again. However, by 1982 he had visited 14 countries, performed all over the world, and was winning fans everywhere he went. He decided to make the Navy his career, which still allowed him to continue performing and writing songs. While stationed in California in 1997, he entered a studio in North Hollywood to record an eight-track demo cassette. That was where he met Norman Saleet, author of such hits as Air Supply's "Here I Am" and Selena's "Where Did the Feeling Go." Saleet heard Mitchell's song "Out Past the Reef" and suggested he send it to Jimmy Buffet. Buffett liked the tune, but it didn't quite fit with the material he was writing at the time. Saleet then suggested that Mitchell keep the song and release his own record. In 1997, Mitchell started Sailor Boy Records and released his debut CD, Caribbean Cowboy. Reviews and sales were promising, so he returned to the studio and cut Big Coconut, which was released in September 1998. Mitchell retired from the Navy in 1999. ~ Larry Belanger

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