Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney

My allegiance to the original salty soul with a salute to his successor.

A few days ago I posted a tweet about loving both Kenny and Jimmy’s music but being more connected to the original salty soul; the King of Somewhere Hot himself. So with that I thought I would elaborate a bit.

Now, a lot of people around my age seem to be more into Kenny and I guess because of the closer age proximity that makes some sense. Obviously for the girls Kenny has a greater sex appeal than Jimmy and that adds to it as well I am sure. But for me, as much as I love Kenny’s music and have a real connection with his songs and way of life, Jimmy’s music has been the background to my life since I was a young child and will always hold that special spot for me.

Part of this connection comes from how genuine Jimmy is in beach culture in contrast to the novelty of Kenny’s new found island spirit. Not saying it being new to Kenny makes it any less real, but as someone who was raised on the sands of Florida’s Gulf coast I feel a greater connection with someone who is a native born salty soul. But again, some of us were born with salt in our veins, some of us had it injected; but in the end we are all brothers and sisters of the same rummy, sun soaked lifestyle.

Kenny and Jimmy both sing of the ocean, the island lifestyle, sailing, and having a good time in the Caribbean sun; and as I said before, I feel a connection with both as that has been my life. But Bubba just has a yet to be identified ingredient (a secret ingredient perhaps?) in his musical libations that brings in a certain magic, a certain spirit that has yet to be replicated for me. Maybe it’s the haunting sound of Fingers Taylor’s harmonica or Nadirah’s soulful backing vocals, but there is something there that can’t be reproduced.

I guess one of the main reasons I feel this way is because how long Jimmy has been the music in my life and how short a time Kenny’s has. Bubba’s music was playing at some of the more important parts of my life growing up, and while a few of Kenny’s now have similar places for me those formidable years have a deeper connection. I think our early years always seem to ring through more as they are at our foundation. So in essence Jimmy’s music is at my foundation and as I said to someone on twitter, his music is responsible in part for who and how I am today. Mix that with a childhood on the southern coast and you get the rummy beach bum you see today.

It was a tradition for me growing up to turn on “Margaritaville” (the Parrot-Head national anthem) as I got to the beach and the smell of salt air filled my car. “Changes in Latitudes” always reminds me of strolling down Clearwater Beach with my headphones on watching the “pale invaders” worshiping the sun. And so many songs remind me of the crazy drives my buddy Mike and I made down to Key West or early mornings on the boat as we came to the rivers mouth and put her on plane heading to the island for a day of fishing and drinking. Each song always floods my memory banks with these nostalgic moments in time from my life on the southern shores. So to Jimmy, thank you for the dis-function and craziness your music has inspired in my life as well as the lazy days in the sun I have known and love!

But one day in the future the original trop-rocker will retire and one day he will sail on leaving behind a legacy and generations of island going party-pirates. In Kenny we have a great person to carry the tiki torch for him and keep another generation or two salted, tanned, rum soaked, and in good sprits; spreading the island lifestyle across the world and inspiring that one lucky soul that will carry the torch for him. But for me anyway, nobody will ever be able to replace Jimmy nor have as much meaning to me and to my life. And whether I am at a Jimmy or a Kenny show my Parrot Head flag will fly high on it’s flagpole, as that is the seed for this lifestyle we all live in so many ways and certainly the foundation for so much of the craziness we all love.

“Love and Luck”

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8 Responses to “Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney”

  1. TropRockBlog March 21, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Great Article Shawn – You expressed EXACTLY how I feel about the two of them. I shared this on the Trop Rock Blog (with trackbacks of course) – Trop On Brother!

  2. Corey March 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    well said!

  3. RumShopRyan March 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    I lean towards the JB side a little myself. For me it’s what type of mood I’m in; Kenny is a little more rock n’ roll and Jimmy is more of a storyteller. There’s just something about those stories he tell in his songs that pull you in. I actually listening to both No Shoes Radio (Kenny’s radio station) and Jimmy’s Margaritaville each day. I start off with NSR and always end the day with Jimmy and his island friends. They know how to close out a day.


  4. Shawn Martin
    Shawn Martin March 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Thanks for the feedback guys and super big thanks for sharing this on the blog John!

    Ryan, I do the same thing but switch back and forth between the two depending on my mood and pace of the day. They are both two of my most listened to artist but Jimmy is just as Kenny once said, a master storyteller.

    Cheers guys!

  5. Justin March 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Great article on the two artists that are almost always in my CD/mp3 player, Like you’ve I’ve been a fan of both for a long time. I have a preference for JB probably b/c of the sheer number of insightful songs and the awesome tailgate & concerts I’ve gotten to attend when he’s playing in Atlanta. Chesney’s good too, but nothing beats a parrot head tailgate.

    Strangely though it wasn’t Buffett, but Chesney’s Lucky Old Sun in the CD player on my first trip to Key West that inspired me to start learning to sail. I have actually worn that one CD out playing it so often when I really needed to dream of somewhere warm or go back to a trip to Key West in my head.

  6. Glenn August 8, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    Thanks for the article, Shawn!

    I have been a fan of Jimmy’s since 1976. I play guitar and sing and write songs, myself.

    Jimmy’s music has been apart of life for so long, and I love playing his music!

    I grew up on the Texas Gulf Coast, so I can definitely represent!

    Salt Water Soul Forever!

    • Shawn Martin
      Shawn Martin August 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Justin, I agree with you 100%. Jimmy has some great and insightful songs. Some people know him only for his fun cornball songs like cheeseburger but there is so much more depth to him than that.

      And Kenny two has really captured so much of that island/sailor essence; but he has yet to find that ingredient Bubba has.

    • Shawn Martin
      Shawn Martin August 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

      Cheers brother! Nothing beats growing up on the old gulf coast!

      It’s funny how much a part of our lives music can become.

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