Some friends of mine turned me on to Jimmy Bufftett during High School. It was long since he had any semblance of a 'Hit' on radio. I picked up a copy of 'Songs You Know By Heart' AKA 'Songs You Play to Death'. It contains the usual suspects, Margaritaville, Come Monday, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, Fins, etc. I've since given that tape away, but gathered nearly two dozen others.
Buffett's music spans a lot of territory, from his early Country by way of the Gulf Coast stuff and tours throughout the Caribbean, the Pacific, South America, Louisiana, Europe, and Key West. He uses a lot of different styles and rhythms. And while no one outside of Louisiana seems to do waltzes, Jimmy has snuck some quite pretty ones onto recent albums.
But above all, Jimmy is a story teller. And that is why he's also a successful author. He writes stories about people in these far away places, seprate from our hectic world. He has created this mythical place, just beyond reach. Still these stories aren't of a utopia. Yes, there are stories of love, lust, drinkin', and a lot of fun. But there are breakups, intreague, jail, and a few deaths; but it's all seen through a you-pick-your-poison buzzed haze.
Despite not having a hit since the 70s, Jimmy still puts out albums yearly and the Coral Reefer Band's Summer Tours are regularly top sellers. He's managed to clutivate this ParotHead fanaticism into quite a financial empire... after all he's distantly related to Warren Buffett. He's got the albums, books, T-shirts, other assorted Parothead wear, and a couple Margaritaville Cafes.
It's odd to look back now, but I never really went to concerts in High School or College. I must be making up for lost time now. So, I never made it to a Buffett Concert until a couple years ago at Merriweather Post. The whole picnic/party in the parking lot was pretty cool, but it was disappointing to see Jimmy from the back on the Big Screen or the little dot running around on stage. Even more disapponting was that much of the crowd was drunken frat-boys screaming about that lost shaker of salt. On the whole, It was a disappointing show... not that it was the band's fault. I haven't sworn off going again, but I haven't been back and don't plan to go.
Jimmy has managed to keep a core group of folks in his band for years. Mac McAnally and Greg 'Fingers' Taylor have pretty much been with the man from the start. But they've both recently left the band. Apparently, it has to do with the increased corporitization and new band rules that don't allow side gigs and that they can't bring their families along. Mac and Fingers both have wives and kids. And Mac regularly schedules side gigs. Jimmy, in fact, showed up at one last year at the State.
So Mac McAnally had a show scheduled for the State when Buffett was in town for a couple shows at Nissan. That show was Friday night. Fingers was supposed to join him, but was stuck in an airplane... for three hours... on the ground... in Detroit.
The show was great. Mac was quite personable. He played solo on guitar and keyboard. He's quite a player and singer, but a superb songwriter. He's written or co-written many of Buffett's songs. And I as I was listening, I thought it sounded like much of this stuff would work really well for Shenendoah. And happy to learn that Mac wrote at least two of their hits.
He dedicated a couple songs to Jimmy Buffett. He didn't say anything specifically. But it sounded like he didn't want to leave the band, but that he couldn't deal with the new conditions.
The crowd was mostly hard core Parotheads and they filled the State. I doubt he'd be filling that room if it weren't for the Buffett connection... not that it wasn't a good show. I think many were hoping Jimmy would show up. But with the breakup, I doubted it... and he didn't.