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My Favorite Jimmy Buffett Story.

If you grew up in South when I did, Jimmy Buffett was simply a part of your life.

My dad was a big folk music fan and had two of Buffett's albums, A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean and  and Dying in ¾ Time, in his record collection.

When I was in high school, Buffett would be sitting on stools in Monty's, The Flick, and The Hungry Sailor, playing guitar and singing his songs. Sometimes, he'd play at a festival with my friends Bobby Ingram and John Brown.

When I was at The , Buffett played concerts there at least twice a year, probably when his tour bus passed through Gainesville on their way in and out of the state.

When I started playing music in bars myself, we'd always be asked to play Jimmy Buffett songs. The other night, we played a tribute that included A Pirate Looks at 40, Volcano, Pencil Thin Mustache, and Cheeseburger in Paradise.

And if that weren't enough, my wife's cousin Henry is The Coral Reefers' business tour manager. Henry has generously invited us to have dinner with him and the band each time they'd perform somewhere near . (Gloria even asked Henry to try and get me an audition for The Coral Reefers' slot, but that's a different story for a different time!)

So, as they say in Spanish, Jimmy Buffett esta en mi sopa (Jimmy Buffett is in my soup).

My Favorite Jimmy Buffett Story

Needless to say, I have a lot of Jimmy Buffett stories. Here's my favorite:

My good buddy Tom Todoroff is one of the world's leading acting and keynote speaker coaches.

Even though I have no evidence to confirm my hunch, I'm pretty sure Michael Douglas' character in The Kominsky Method is based on Tom's life. A quick scan of the testimonials on Tom's website is a name-dropper's delight — he has worked with Liam Neeson, Samuel Jackson, Jacqueline Bisset, Bob Hoskins, Dakota Johnson, and… Jimmy Buffett.

Although Tom is usually tight-lipped about the people he's worked with, he told me this story about a dinner he had with Buffett when he was helping the singer prepare for another taxing worldwide tour. They were discussing what it takes to be , how much of it is talent, how much is hard work, and how much is just plain .

Buffett summed it up something like this:

“You know Tom. I ain't the best guitar player in the world. I mean, I can play, but Mac MacAnally, my lead guitar player, can play circles around me. I'm a bit of a good guitar player. But Mac? He even won Musician of the Year at the CMA Awards.

And c'mon Tom, you know I'm not the best singer in the world either. Hell, if I was, I wouldn't need you to coach me now, would I? My backup singers are all classically trained. They sing opera and on Broadway when they're not onstage with me. They're the real singers.

Bottom line? I ain't the best guitar player in the world, and I ain't the best singer in the world. But it's my name on all the sold-out theater signs up there.

Why?

Because I'm the best goddamn Jimmy Buffett in the world!”

According to my friend, and singer Keith Harmeyer, Buffett was “the only performer… with the possible exceptions of Elvis and , who had such a profound philosophical and social impact on a generation.”

“…His songs introduced us to the notion that just maybe… if you were a little bold and a little more crazy and were willing to walk away from it all, you wouldn't have to suffer most of your life just to enjoy a tiny bit of it. You could be in your own ‘Margaritaville' all day, every day.”

“…That was a powerful and seductive idea. And so, his music became the siren song of a generation longing for the good life.”

Jimmy Buffett wasn't the world's best singer or guitar player. He wasn't even the best musician in his own band.

But he was a great songwriter, frontman, businessman, and a best- author. Most importantly, he lived his own life. And he showed the rest of us how to do it, too.

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