Michael Utley

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Michael Utley
Utley Performing With The Coral Reefer Band, June 2009
Utley Performing With The Coral Reefer Band, June 2009
Background information
Birth nameMichael Edward Utley
Born1947 (age 75–76)
Blytheville, Arkansas
  • Keyboard player
  • Producer
  • Keyboard

Michael Edward Utley (born 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, record producer, and musical director for Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band.

Early life and education[edit]

Utley was born in Blytheville in Mississippi County, Arkansas. In 1969, he graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in zoology. He then debated either taking pre-med lab exam or going to Memphis and help Tony Joe White record his second album and chose the latter.[1]

In college, he was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He was recognized by Sigma Chi as a Significant Sig in 2017.[2]


In 1970, Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler invited Utley to work at Criteria Studios.[1] Utley worked with the house band for Atlantic Records in Miami, Florida's Criteria Studios backing performers such as Aretha Franklin, Jerry Jeff Walker, and the Allman Brothers and in California playing with Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson.

In 1973, Jerry Jeff Walker recruited Utley to play keyboard instruments on Buffett's first major label album, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean. Utley continued to work with other performers in the mid-1970s while appearing on Buffett's subsequent albums until Buffett's 1977 breakout Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes when he joined the Coral Reefer Band full-time.

Utley has title credit on several albums, the first being an instrumental record with fellow Coral Reefer Band member Robert Greenidge titled Mad Music.

Utley has produced or co-produced several of Buffett albums beginning with One Particular Harbour in 1983. Since 1981, he has toured with the Coral Reefers.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Utley's son is married to the daughter of Mac McAnally, also a member of the Coral Reefer Band.[4]

In popular media[edit]

During Jimmy Buffett's 1979 song "Volcano," Utley's name is mentioned. Right before the first solo, Jimmy Buffett says "Mr. Utley." This leads into the solo.[5]


  • Robert Greenidge & Michael Utley (as Club Trini). Mad Music MCA 5695. (1986). re-released on CD (11/05).
  • Robert Greenidge & Michael Utley (as Club Trini). Jubilee (1987). re-released on CD (12/05).
  • Robert Greenidge & Michael Utley (as Club Trini). Heat (1988).
  • Robert Greenidge & Michael Utley (as Club Trini). Club Trini. (1996).
  • Robert Greenidge & Michael Utley (as Club Trini). Back in Town. (1999).
  • Robert Greenidge & Michael Utley (as Club Trini). Margaritaville Cafe: Late Night Live. (2000).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hill, Jack W. (February 26, 2012). "Longtime Buffett producer Utley is back in home state". Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
  2. ^ "Sigma Chi Foundation - 2017 Annual Report" – via Issuu.
  3. ^ "Michael E. Utley B.A.'69". University of Arkansas.
  4. ^ HERNANDEZ, RAOUL (May 27, 2015). "Jimmy Buffett Surfs Stubb's". The Austin Chronicle.
  5. ^ "Volcano - Jimmy Buffett". Genius.