Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jimmy Buffett (aka: Huck Finn)

Every day something "blog-worthy" happens at the Museum, but these days we've all been so busy it's nearly impossible to find five minutes to write about it.  I'm going to make an exception today.  If you've been following Museum activities on Facebook or Twitter, you know we've been incredibly busy with getting ready for our CD release of Mark Twain: Words & Music.  Well, back on May 3rd I went to St. Louis to see Jimmy Buffett in concert and to give him a copy of the CD masters so he could hear the completed project in its entirety.  Jimmy told me he was heading to Jazz Fest in New Orleans and would be meeting the legendary Bob Edwards for an interview, and he promised to plug the CD.  Jimmy kept that promise, and the interview recently aired on Bob's Sirius XM show.  Yesterday we got to hear the podcast, and what a thrill!  In this one-hour interview Jimmy covered a lot of ground, talking about his early days in the business and some of his current projects, including our CD.  The show includes clips from the CD featuring Jimmy as Huck Finn and a sampling of "Huck Finn Blues" sung by Brad Paisley.  If you're a Buffett fan or a Twain fan, you've got to listen to this.  Jimmy's enthusiasm for the project shines through.  I swear you can "hear" him smiling during the interview when he starts "talking Twain."

When my kids were growing up, they knew two facts about their mother: I loved Mark Twain, and I loved Jimmy Buffett.  When they were little, they could sing any number of Jimmy Buffett songs, and now that they're adults, Buffett's music is always on their playlist, and Twain is one of their favorite authors.  (On that alone I can defend my claim of being a "good mom.")  They remember hearing me say, "If I ever meet Jimmy Buffett, we're going to talk Twain."  I said this, of course, because Jimmy is a sincere fan of Mr. Clemens's writing.  He's written three songs about Following the Equator (read my Amazon review here) and paraphrased Twain in several other songs.  Besides being a great songwriter, Jimmy is an impressive author as well, and you'll find homages to Twain in his books.  (One of my favorite Buffett characters is Tully Mars, a cowboy with a horse named Mr. Twain.  You can meet him in Jimmy's book, Tales from Margaritaville.)  On April 29, 2010 I did get to meet Jimmy Buffett before his concert in St. Louis that evening.  My son, Adam, was with me, and if you ever get the chance to talk to him, ask him about that meeting.  Jimmy Buffett was warm and gracious, and we did indeed "talk Twain" right up until it was time for him to perform.  And his show that night was full of references about our favorite author.  "Hey, y'all up there sittin' up there on the lawn... you're so far north you're almost in Mark Twain's hometown, Hannibal, Missouri!"  When he got to the final refrain of "Margaritaville," he sang, "Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, but I know that it's Mark Twain's fault."  The St. Louis fans went crazy, for although we in Hannibal claim Sam Clemens for our own, so does everyone who lives within a hundred miles of the river.

Thank you, Jimmy.  Thank you for the years of honoring Mark Twain in your songs, for finding (and sharing) such inspiration in his words, for coming aboard our CD project, and for this great interview on the Bob Edwards Show.  No doubt the old steamboat pilot is smiling down upon all of your antics, probably humming "Barefoot Children in the Rain" or "Fruitcakes" or something...

Listen to Jimmy quote Mark Twain in "That's What Livin' Is To Me" on this CD.

1 comment:

  1. I just happened to look at Blogger and scrolled down to the "reading list" ...I could so easily have missed this on any other day and feel fortunate to have found this post on the day it was published.

    Yes, I'm a Buffett fan, too. The literary references in Jimmy's songs have added a sort of "wink" to the Twain aficionados.

    Thanks for this post!