I was born in WashingtoN, DC on August 6, 1963 (I wanted to be near my mother!)
Funny thing about that eventful day, is that my parents were in little fender bender on the way to the hospital that involved a gentleman who was in the military.
He refused to move his car until the local military police came to the scene...Now beng a fomer military man himself, that didn't go over very well with my father, who'd jump over a hot steak dinner to get in a 'scrap'!
Needless to say, they made it to the hospital just in time! Dad dropped Mom off at the door, and headed to the stage for a local eng, agement (things were a little different back then and money was tight)
The police came and found out who my father was, then gave the other man a ticket! Then announced over the PA System that Bill Harrell just had a son...William Mitchell Harrell
I started singing in church about the age of seven, and found I loved singing just about as much as eatin' a Big Mac...so I did a lot of both!
Singing from Elementary School and into High School, I was fortunate enough to be selected to the Maryland All State Choir my Junior & Senior years, and even sang in some hand selected Chambers Groups, as well as - get this - A Barber Shop Quartet!
I can't help but believe hearing the likes of Don Reno & Bill Harrell singing together throughout my childhood helped nuture all of these events just a little.
Additonally, I played a little trumpet through High School (much to the dismay of my Daddy) but soon found my love for singing had no rival, except of course PLAYING BASEBALL!
Now if i do say so myself, I could hit a ball a country mile...and HAD to because of all those Big Macs! After a couple knee surgeries I found out it hurt a lot less just to SING!
The time came when Dad needed a Tenor Singer in the Virginians....
Larry Stephenson had moved on towards an excellent solo career, and the same with then tenor singer, Paul Adkins. When I overheard my father's dilemma I jumped at the chance! "Hey Dad - I can do it!" He had know idea whatsoever that I already knew all of his material!
He thought because I was down stairs in my bedroom screaming "Bad Company" and dreaming of being the Paul Rodgers, that all I ever REALLY wanted was to be a "Virginian". And that was that!
From my mid-twenties until Dad eventually retired, I toured with the legendary "Bill Harrell & The Virginians". And how truly blessed was I, not only to be playing music with my father, but to see him in a totally different light - not that off "father", but that of a mentor and best friend.
For years I watched in amazement as my father captivated audiences - he knew what songs to sing when, who for - made 'em laugh, made 'em cry, made 'em sing....what a pro!
That exposure helped me become the first artist on Pinecastle Records, and I released two projects with them "Twenty Dollar Man" and "Influences".
After that my friend Sonny Long and I formed our own indepedant label "SoLong Records", where we recorded several projects together; "SHoes Too Big to Fill", "Oh Heart", and "Ride On King Jesus".
That's ALSO where I became reaquainted with my life long friends and former next door neighbors, Dale & Don Wayne Reno!
Talk about the fruit not falling far from the tree - man could those boys play! It was after the release of the first project "Shoes" (A tribute song about my Dad) that I was fortunate enough to receive an invitaion to showcase at the IBMA, so I called in the "Head-Cutters!"
(that's a term used for hired guns that play so good your head just gets cut clean off!)
And can you imagine the goose bumps when the announcer started our introduction by saying... "Lady's and Gentlemen, I don't know about you, but it sure is good to see Reno & Harrell on stage together again!"
The rest is history - and now our FUTURE!