BUCKS COUNTY >> Even at an early age, Jim Mitchell, of Bensalem, had high hopes of blazing a path as a country music star.
In the time prior to the pandemic, he and his band, "The Repeat Offenders," had played 120 to 150 shows per year, opening for country music legends including Brooks & Dunn, Waylon Jennings, Marty Stuart, and Tanya Tucker.
“That’s the gig that told me I’m a professional,” Mitchell said of his 1988 performance at the Pennsylvania State Fair, where he opened for Tucker. “I consider that to be the first. All the other stuff was just a learning process. That’s when I really started taking it seriously.”
Mitchell and his band have been one of the top country music acts in the region for the past 30 years. He is hoping that by signing with the Danny DeGennaro Foundation Record Label and JAM Publishing Company will help him transition from the local arena to the national stage.
“He’s at the top of his game,” said Ed Mero, of the Danny DeGennaro Foundation. “The guy’s a prolific songwriter.”
For starters, Mitchell is recording a four-song EP at SonLight Productions in Perkasie. The Danny DeGennaro Foundation is offering a select number of fans the opportunity to order a limited-edition vinyl 33 rpm album of the EP through GoFundMe.
Mitchell has been a mainstay at the Foundation’s fundraising concerts the last several years.
“Everybody loves him,” Mero said. “It’s a perfect match.”
It helps too that Mitchell resembles a younger version of the late Levittown native Danny DeGennaro - the namesake for the nonprofit organization whose mission it is to provide music and arts scholarships and mentoring to young talent.
“He looks just like Danny in his 30s and 40s,” Mero said. “He’s a spitting image. He even has the same mannerisms.”
Mitchell also shares DeGennaro’s passion for music.
By the time he was 8, Mitchell had set his sights on music. He idolized his stepfather Earl Humphries and loved sitting at his feet, taking in every note of the Johnny Cash songs he would strum on his guitar. By 12 Mitchell began playing guitar.
Rather than move to Nashville to launch his career, Mitchell got married and started a family at 17.
“I wanted to raise my kids. I wanted to be a dad,” he said of his decision to tour and grow his fanbase regionally. “I might have made it at 25, but the cost was more than I was willing to give.”
Now with his kids grown, the self-described Country Outlaw Rocker is ready to go full throttle.
“All these good things are happening,” he said. “We’re gonna try to make a run at it.”
To learn more
For more information on the Danny DeGennaro Foundation Record Label and JAM Publishing LLC, visit http://ddfjamsongwritingworkshops.org/record-label_publish.php. To pre-order a limited-edition vinyl version of Jim Mitchell and The Repeat Offenders’ new EP visit the GoFundMe page here: https://gf.me/u/y75v8p