Tag Archives: jimmy buffett

Margaritaville Without Mom: A Story of Loss and Cheeseburgers (via The Mid)

It's been a lovely cruise.

Drink it up, this one’s for you.

The Mid — There aren’t too many ways you can make yourself laugh at funerals, but you try, because you tell yourself that’s what the deceased would have wanted, right? Mom would have rolled her eyes at some somber visitation weighed down by synthetic cathedral music and Kleenex; she’d have much preferred a tropical theme and Jimmy Buffett songs about islands and boats, things she, like the vast majority of Buffett fans, loved but never pursued. (If you’ve never seen a room full of adults burst into tears while researching lyrics by a guy famous for a song about a cheeseburger, I can assure you it makes for a weird afternoon.)

So that’s what we did, mostly. A couple times during her visitation (we called it a “time of sharing,” because no one wanted to say “visitation”), someone would ask to turn the music up, which is a strange request for a visitation/time of sharing. I hope the other two families in the funeral home didn’t mind; I’m sure they were trying to hold a traditional service while the weirdos in Room C listened to something called “Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season.”

So this year, having now turned into someone who can get actually emotionally unhinged listening to a song called “Fins,” we thought we’d do one last round, one last splash, one more trip out to the show for Mom. Here’s what happened.

 

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A Conversation With Jimmy Buffett (Time)

Jimmy Buffett press photo

Time.com — Jimmy Buffett adds to his considerable pirate treasure with constant touring: traveling carnivals-slash-beach-blanket blowouts of friendly grass-skirted hedonisms. His shows are as constant as the tides, the stars and — to be slightly less romantic about the whole thing — the receipts at the end of each. But why not? At 66, Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band are still good for nearly 30 songs a night, and no one’s better at suggesting escape and rum drinks are just a snap decision away.

Buffett talked from his Long Island, NY home about retirement, Michael Jordan, Willie Nelson and…surfing.

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Wait, you were really surfing this morning?

“Yeah, if there are waves, I’ll be out there. It’s crowded out here [at Montauk] but the conditions were right, so I was in the water at like 7:30. It’s a passion first — well, some would say it’s an affliction rather than a passion, but whatever it is, I’ve got it. I’m an old-fart surfer, but it keeps me in shape and it generates some interesting byproducts in the way of song lyrics.”

Read the full Q&A here.

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The 10 Best Jimmy Buffett Songs He Probably Won’t Play On Tour

Florida Times-Union — Jimmy Buffett has scored unimaginable bank as king of an empire that encompasses music, restaurants, apparel, shrimp, tequila, casinos and whatever industry puts blowup pools in the back of pickup trucks.

But before he was able to convince untold thousands of concertgoers in suburban amphitheaters and basketball arenas they were actually watching the sun drop in someplace like Tahiti, Buffett really was a struggling, easygoing and fairly well-lubricated storyteller from the Gulf Coast, a guy who came up in the early ’70s singer-songwriter golden age of John Prine, James Taylor, Steve Goodman and countless others.

It’s tougher to find that side of Buffett onstage after decades of sold-out cheeseburger parties, but it’s not impossible: For decades he’s ended his beach blanket blowouts with a solo acoustic number (we call it the Let’s Get The Hell Out Of Here Before These People Get In Their Cars song), his best chance to retune his guitar, rummage around in the song trunk and revisit some of the softer, simpler corners of the catalog. If you’ve gotten your fill of the songs you know by heart, here are a few lost treasures worth digging up.

Read more at Jacksonville.com.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-N9L3ZXWPA]

Interview — Mac McAnally: Buffett’s sideman has some stories he could tell

Island Packet — Mick Jagger has Keith Richards, Bruce Springsteen had Clarence Clemons. Jimmy Buffett’s onstage foil/sidekick has for decades been a very large, congenial ginger named Mac McAnally.

With a massive helmet of Hagar the Horrible-thick hair, dry-rubbed Southern wit and considerable tallness, McAnally does not exactly fit into the Caribbean-escapist vibe conjured up by Buffett’s beach blanket blowouts.

But since the 1990s, the Mississippi native has served as Buffett’s onstage counterpoint, guitarist and producing and writing partner. (He also has, during performances of “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” served as Alan Jackson.)

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3yr4lz1RJc]

 


Here’s to you, Jimmy: A salute to Buffett’s enduring appeal

Indianapolis Star — For many years my mom hung a framed towel that Jimmy Buffett threw at her in her living room.

This is actually not that big of a deal. Jimmy Buffett has also signed autographs for my mom, indirectly fulfilled a song request for my cousin, joked with us backstage at “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” about the showers at Deer Creek (“You should see the Port-A-Potties,” my brother shot back, brilliantly) and graciously played for us more than 30 times. (The towel, incidentally, was thrown at us in a 1998 Detroit concert and actually caught by said brother, who basically Spider-Manned himself across three seats to make sure he caught it, lest we suffer the indignity of going home without a towel full of Coral Reefer sweat.)

It goes on like this, the stories and memories and inside jokes about a man whose arguably biggest hit, “Margaritaville,” was released 34 years ago. If I have to choose, if there’s only time and budget for one trip home a year, I will without hesitation pick the Buffett show over relative silliness like “Christmas” or “Thanksgiving.” I know it, my family knows it, and everyone is extremely cool with this arrangement.

Click here for the article at the Indianapolis Star.

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Live review: Jimmy Buffett at the Time Warner Pavilion, Raleigh

Billboard — Jimmy Buffett has dubbed his 2008 summer tour “The Year Of Still Here,” a title that denotes a bemused disbelief about the 61-year-old troubadour’s continued success that is, needless to say, profoundly insane: Barring some sort of catastrophic crash in the grass-skirt industry or the subprime blow-up pool market, what possible reason could there be to get this show off the road?

Buffett’s beach blanket blowouts are as reliable as the waves, the stars and – to be slightly less breezy and escapist about the whole thing – the gross receipts at the end of each prove that. The shows are sellouts and the songs are staples. Sure, pavilion seats – and beers, alcoholic squishies and goofball plastic cups – are expensive as hell, but Buffett has held face value for the lawn seats to around a relatively ridiculous $30 for years. And the continued spot-development of small, friendly hamlets built from inflatable items, pickup truck pools and insta-tiki bars in parking lots across the land is also an annual spectacle.

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Interview: Jake Shimabukuro, the maestro

Island Packet — The thing about viral video is that it can make you a star while you’re not even looking.

Jake Shimabukuro, a ukulele whiz kid from Hawaii, was going about his daily business two years ago, when over the course of a week he began getting a unusual number of e-mails from friends and family.

“Like 30 in a week,” he said, “All saying, ‘Hey, did you know about this video clip of you going around on the Internet?’ ”

Generally speaking, this is not something you want to hear. Ever.

 

 

But in Shimabukuro’s case, the clip in question was his performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which by then was well on its way to becoming a YouTube sensation that helped secure his position as quite possibly the country’s biggest ukulele virtuoso. “To this day I don’t know how it got on the Internet. But I’m not complaining — it’s been a great way to introduce people to my music, and I’m a big fan now of those sites because they’ve got some amazing musicians on there.”

Shimabukuro says this all with the effortlessly chilled, musical cadence you’d expect from a Hawaiian native, one whose life has been music since the age of 4. Now 30, and thanks to his effortless virtuosity, some luck and a the nation’s lively army of Parrotheads, Shimabukuro has visited almost as many destinations as his video, and will see plenty more on a solo tour that brings him to Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday.

The tour is Shimabukuro’s first solo jaunt in a while. He’s spent the past two years visiting various latitudes with Jimmy Buffett, who tapped him to add a little authentic island vibe to his Coral Reefer Band (and open each show with a brilliant uke-based take on “The Star-Spangled Banner”). The two met, rather satisfyingly, at a surf shop.

“I was scheduled to do a radio show in Waikiki, and apparently a few hours before Jimmy was in. So when I walked in, the manager said, ‘Hey, you’re not gonna believe this, but Jimmy Buffett left a note for you,” Shimabukuro said.

The note asked Shimabukuro to not only come to Buffett’s show in Hawaii, but to sit in as well. “Soundcheck was the first time I met him, and he explained what he wanted to do,” Shimabukuro said. “I guess he liked it, because he invited me to tour with him for the next couple of years.” Shimabukuro added that he’ll appear with Buffett on a handful of dates this year as well.

The Buffett connection manifested itself also in Shimabukuro’s latest record, “Gently Weeps” (which includes a studio version of the Beatles cover). It was produced in Nashville by Coral Reefer guitarist/vocalist Mac McAnally, who urged Shimabukuro to strip away his rhythm section and extra instrumentation, and record what is in essence a solo album. “I was like, ‘What do you mean, solo?’ I guess I always feared (recording by myself), but he was really encouraging, and said it would be a good way to introduce the instrument to people and play up its subtleties.”

Recording in this manner also helped Shimabukuro to serve as an ambassador, both for his birthplace — he’s active in Hawaii-based outreach and civics programs — but for the ukulele as an instrument. Shimabukuro said it wasn’t until high school that he started playing around with the instrument’s potential, coming up with his own techniques. “I found I could execute these (rock and jazz) pieces in a way that didn’t sound corny. Sometimes (the uke) will have a certain sound that people will hear and say, like, ‘Oh, that’s cute, playing a rock tune on the ukulele.’ I wanted to go beyond that. If I’m playing a jazz fusion piece or a rock tune, I want it to come across like, “Oh, that’s a really unique arrangement, I’ve never heard that piece played that way before.’ ”


Concert review: Jimmy Buffett at Wrigley Field — It’s 2:00 somewhere

Billboard — Almost a year to the day after exorcising the Curse of the Bambino at Boston’s Fenway Park — which he did a pretty decent job of — Jimmy Buffett was forced to take the centerfield stage at Wrigley Field with no such hope for drastic, fundamental karmic re-jiggering. True to the cosmic rules that govern such things, the Cubs have been effectively out of the NL Central pennant race since sometime in mid-June.

But even if he couldn’t unravel any baseball spells on this Labor Day weekend show, Buffett could close out the summer at the only place in the game that’s at once holier and less blessed, ending his annual summer tour with a sold-out Sunday night-Monday afternoon doubleheader on a pitch-perfect North Side afternoon. (That’s right, afternoon. As part of Buffett’s deal with the city, the Monday show went off at 2 p.m., marking what I imagine is the first time ever that “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” was performed 45 minutes early).

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More Buffett and baseball:

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Harry Caray would have argued it was a beautiful day for baseball, or a concert, or anything, really. The Lake Michigan breeze blew from right field to left, judging by the trajectory of the beach balls and various inflatable sharks. Pirate flags flew under the ones immortalizing Banks, Santo, Sandberg and Billy Williams. And for all the worry and negotiations between the city, the neighborhoods and the band, Monday afternoon was a relatively calm one — which is really no surprise, since when you stop to think about it, people drinking throughout a Wrigleyville afternoon does not a novelty make.

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To a certain degree, it was only a matter of time before Buffett came to Wrigley Field (he said the idea was first hatched about seven years ago, appropriately enough, in a bar). A longtime Cubs fan, Buffett filled in on national anthem duties in 1984 for Game 1 of the National League pennant series after longtime pal and Chicago native Steve Goodman died before the playoffs (the singer/songwriter was referenced three times on Monday, counting the intermission playback of the always-tragic “Go Cubs Go.”) And the parallels between Cub fandom and Buffett lawn activities are probably too numerous to get into here, but they start, and probably end, with beer.

Still, the occasion was dampened, as most occasions are, by the clouds of Hurricane Katrina and her contentious aftermath. Buffett being Buffett, he had to straddle the thin white-chalk line of remaining Capt. Margaritaville — he got to play Wrigley Field, he joked, so it’ll be a snap to rebuild the city — while staying vigilant of the tragedy. To that end, he signed a pinstriped Cubs jersey that he said would be auctioned off on eBay to benefit the Red Cross, and he kicked off his second encore with the newly poignant Goodman chestnut “City of New Orleans,” which he dedicated, pointedly, to the “fellow Americans” devastated by the tragedy.

But more than not, Buffett the yellow-clad showman was in full force, even as the sun beat down on the center field stage throughout the two-and-a-half-hour show.

In fact, there was a little more of a rock edge to the set. Opener “Piece of Work” uncoiled over a great Bo Diddley beat; it’s the rocking-est thing Buffett’s laid to tape in decades. “Last Man Standing” rose and fell from quiet, picking verses into an explosive chorus, amplified by Mac McAnally and Peter Mayer’s guitar work. And the unfathomably goofy “License To Chill” somehow worked on stage, probably because lines like “Let the world go to hell, I think I’m going back to Brazil” sound much better when fueled by frosty goodness.

To mark the various occasions, Buffett and his band un-tarped a few dusties: Hagar-the-Horrible bearded guitarist McAnally’s “In the City,” the New Orleans shout-out “I Will Play for Gumbo,” the over-30 Key West tale “Woman Goin’ Crazy on Caroline Street” and the wistful Goodman ballad “Banana Republics,” one of the most genuinely melodic songs in the Buffett catalog. Some new stuff too: Never one to shy away from the thematically appropriate cover song, Buffett closed down the summer of 2005 with a shamelessly ragged shot at Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” which had to survive on goodwill alone, and almost did.

Buffett said that he’s been in the business for 40 years, but couldn’t remember it being much better than this. The sunsplashed crowd, at least, on a perfect summer day probably agreed. Next time, let’s play two.

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Here is Jimmy Buffett’s set list:

  • “Piece of Work”
  • “The Pascagoula Run”
  • “Hey Good Lookin'”
  • “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”
  • “I Will Play for Gumbo”
  • “Come Monday”
  • “Last Mango in Paris”
  • “Woman Going Crazy on Caroline Street”
  • “License To Chill”
  • “Son of a Son of a Sailor”
  • “Cheeseburger in Paradise”
  • “Volcano”
  • “Brown Eyed Girl”
  • “Why Don’t We Get Drunk”
  • “La Vie Dansante”
  • “Banana Republics”
  • “Southern Cross”
  • “School Boy Heart”
  • “A Pirate Looks at 40”
  • “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
  • “In the City”
  • “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere”
  • “One Particular Harbour”
  • “Margaritaville”
  • “Fins”
  • “Last Man Standing”
  • “City of New Orleans”
  • “Glory Days”

[tweetmeme=”jeffvrabel” https://jeffvrabel.com/2005/09/08/jimmy-buffett-the-labor-day-weekend-show/]

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Concert review: Jimmy Buffett at Fenway Park, or, Fins at the Fens

Billboard — “Fenway Park on Friday night. Who’d have ever thought it?” Having logged 30-some odd years in the music business, and presiding one of the most reliable draws to come down the road every summer, it’s tough for Jimmy Buffett to pull out many surprises these days.

But for the 2004 edition of his annual festival of shameless escapism, calypso/country and nice cold beverages, Buffett pulled out two doozies. One was his first-ever No. 1 record, “License To Chill,” a set of mostly country duets that surfed the momentum from his Alan Jackson duet “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” to become strongest studio album in years.

The second might have been more wicked: a two-night closing stand at Boston’s Fenway Park. And judging by his Sept. 10 show on those hallowed, cursed grounds, the latter may yet go down as the more memorable of the two. The Red Sox even re-jiggered the Green Monster’s hand-operated scoreboard to read JIMMY BUFFETT, much to the delight of everyone who smuggled a camera into the park.

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More Buffett and baseball:

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The coming of Buffett seemed a capitalized Event in a neighborhood that’s seen its share of them, and the king Parrothead only descended on Boston after some degree of bureaucratic hand-wringing. Neighbors and lawmakers were wary of the traditionally lubricated crowd, though a controversial city no-tailgating rule seemed to have little effect on the vibe — where can you tailgate in a neighborhood with no pahking anyway?

It was also a sequel of sorts; Buffett packed the ballpark exactly one year and three days after Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band re-christened it as a rock’n’roll destination. But Springsteen was touring behind his paean to 9/11, “The Rising,” which demanded at least a brief pause for reflection in the raucousness. Though their Sept. 10 and Sept. 12 shows bookended the attacks’ third anniversary, Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band — augmented by slide guitarist Sonny Landreth and Little Feat pianist Bill Payne, to bring the starting lineup up to 16 — harbored no delusions of purpose.

They were there to bring “Fins” to Fens, turn the heat and humidity up and rattle the house like it hadn’t been rattled since, well, the Red Sox’s collapse last October. Buffett himself smartly took time to acknowledge that, though he was the party’s host, he was also its de factor scorekeeper. “I just want to let y’all know,” he said upon returning from intermission, “The Yankees are losing 10-5,” and the resulting cheer might have thrown off cell phone reception all the way to Worcester.

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He spun a tale of how a wintertime barroom meeting with Boston Bruin Derek Sanderson inspired the frothy “Boat Drinks,” which he said is the only time he ever let himself write about hockey. And midway through the show, he produced a Caribbean-dressed “Jolly Mon” to officially reverse the curse. To do so, he wielded the lumber himself and hit T-shirts into the crowd, and damned if the 57-year-old didn’t go 4-for-4 (though it should be noted, evidently, that Springsteen’s 2003 attempt at same did not exactly take).

As one might be able to guess, “License To Chill,” despite its platinum status, hasn’t changed Buffett’s template much. The show remains deceptively simple, carefully orchestrated and very difficult not to grin through at least part of. And for two-and-a-half hours and 30 songs, the energized-almost-to-the-point-of-reverence Buffett (“This is kind of overwhelming,” he admitted early on) bounded about the stage, called audibles with his band and spun tales of pirates and tropics and means of escape that are forever just one hastily considered decision away.

“Let the world go to hell / I think I’m going back to Brazil,” he grinned in the album’s title track, illustrating his skill at tricking Sox fans into thinking they’re watching the sun drop in someplace like Fiji.

When he did evacuate the Keys for the more mainland-oriented “License” tracks, Buffett still hit surprisingly well (including new songs is a dicey maneuver when playing for a crowd that never tires of “Cheeseburger in Paradise”). “Coast of Carolina,” co-written with guitarist Mac McAnally, was a gentle breeze; the Will Kimbrough stomper “Piece of Work,” propelled by a driving Bo Diddley beat, was the most rock’n’roll song Buffett’s played in years. In the encores, “Scarlet Begonias” was as snug a fit as his standard but frothy cover of “Southern Cross” — you almost wonder what took so long for him to get to it.

Elsewhere, Buffett and his fine band had no trouble keeping the energy up. “One Particular Harbour” showcased Robert Greenidge’s steel drums; “Son of a Son of a Sailor” did the same with Nadirah Shakoor’s soaring vocals (the powerful singer tore up a brief cover of “Respect” as well). And Buffett used an opening mini-acoustic set to dust off “The Great Filling Station Hold-Up,” from his pre-“Fins” days of pickup trucks, honky-tonks and petty crime.

For those there to sing along loudly and badly, Buffett bookended “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” with slivers of “Purple Rain” and “Sweet Caroline,” probably the first time in recorded human history those three titles have ever appeared in a sentence together.

But in closing the show, Buffett dedicated Jesse Winchester’s pretty, breezy “Defying Gravity” to 9/11 victims, and in doing so, pulled off a surprisingly effective simplification of things. For four minutes, released from the cheeseburgers and the beach balls and the SUVs with papier-mache fins strapped atop them, Buffett was back in his early days — a guy with an easy smile and breezy demeanor, with several of his most recent ambitions met and the maddeningly enviable ability to do next whatever he pleases.
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Here is Jimmy Buffett’s set list:

  • “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” (acoustic)
  • “The Great Filling Station Holdup” (acoustic)
  • “Pencil Thin Mustache”
  • “We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About”
  • “License To Chill”
  • “Son of a Son of a Sailor”
  • “Boat Drinks”
  • “Brown Eyed Girl”
  • “Volcano”
  • “Why Don’t We Get Drunk” / “Purple Rain” / “Sweet Caroline”
  • “Hey Good Lookin’ “
  • “The Pascagoula Run”
  • “One Particular Harbour”
  • “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”
  • “Respect” (Nadirah Shakoor vocals)
  • “The Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful”
  • “Jamaica Mistaica”
  • “Come Monday”
  • “Jolly Mon”
  • “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere”
  • “Cheeseburger in Paradise”
  • “Coast of Carolina”
  • “Cuban Crime of Passion”
  • “A Pirate Looks at Forty”
  • “Piece of Work”
  • “Margaritaville”
  • “Fins”
  • “Scarlet Begonias”
  • “Southern Cross”
  • “Defying Gravity”

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