Manatee Island Sail Away with'The Manatee Man'TM As a kid growing up in western Massachusetts, The Manatee Man lived near a lake and spent a lot of time in boats, so it all seemed right that when he moved to Florida in 1982 that he would soon buy a boat and go boating at the nearest best place: the Crystal River. It was wonderful at that time because urban sprawl and over development didn't exist in this remote place and the Crystal River and King's Bay were clean, pristine and pure. Being a good swimmer, he jumped and swam in the river especially in the many springs all the time. Yeah, it happened! He met a manatee one day face to face! He scurried up the ladder of the pontoon boat yelling 'Hey, what was that'? His buddy Glenn said, 'It;s just a manatee'! Chill out!. 'Yeah sure', I said. 'I'm swimming five or six feet from a 2000lb animal and I'm supposed to chill out'? Well, after my first encounter with a manatee my curiosity was sharpened and I wanted to see them and swim with them more and more. My interest in the manatees grew because they were such unique animals. They were big, gentle and friendly and had no natural enemies or so I thought. At the time, who knew that the river would get so busy with all of the boat traffic? Then it seemed that I was on a mission. I wanted to speak for the manatees and hoped I could find people who would listen. That is when the songwriting started. It was 1995. I'm a teacher, and in the morning teachers have a duty station as the children move to their classrooms. My duty station was by the beautiful manatee statue in the courtyard. That statue was created in 1994 when our school first opened. We are the Suncoast Elementary School Manatees, that's our mascot. The local Kiwanis Club commissioned T.J. Neil of Crystal River to build us a manatee statue! Between my experiences in the water with manatees and our beautiful manatee statue the feeling and words began to flow and the songs were written! Gentle Giants, First Sighting, Big Ole Gray Manatee, and Jamaican Manatee were all written standing there by the statue. I was sure glad that I started guitar lessons at the age of 10 because it all seemed to have a purpose now, bringing about awareness of the endangered manatees through songs! As the songs were completed, the need for more and more studio time became important and in three short years two albums were completed. After local performances and a demand for the CD's,'The Manatee Man'TM was born. I've included a few songs to this album that were written with an island feel.'The Junket,' and 'Who Needs A Swimming Pool' are two songs that will bring you back to those white sandy shores! These songs will appeal to adults to make this the complete family album!
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