Daily Archives: September 3, 2023

Nobody Speaks To the Captain No More

Today, I learned Jimmy Buffett died.

I said a long time ago that Jimmy Buffett’s death was going to mess me up, and I thought that was said in earnest. Jimmy Buffett, if you’re not familiar, is was an American singer-songwriter from Mobile, Alabama, renowned for his involvement in and then kind of codifying the musical genre known as gulf and western. The sound, as I someone who just listens to it a lot, had a lot in common with country music in terms of its production style – there’s not a lot of distortion, instruments tend towards the acoustic rather than the electric, and you usually have a single vocalist, who’s often the author of the song presenting music that’s about a personal experience, in a kind of storytelling way. On the other hand, the association with the Gulf of Mexico meant that the musical instruments are influenced more by, well


Black people?

Kettle drums, hymnal organs, a range of percussion instruments that I don’t know by name, that kind of thing? Things you’d hear in the Caribbean, and that’s not to simplify the many different musical styles in the gulf, but to indicate the things that Gulf and Western picked up from it.

I wrote about Jimmy Buffett’s music, as expressed in the albums my dad had when I was a kid, across a few years. Between that and my other online statements about the inevitable impact of his death, I had three people approach me about The Bad News, and what that meant, and to check if I was okay. It made sense to me – after all, I’d said that would happen, right?

But I’m okay?

At least right now, as far as I know.


Continue Reading →
Back to top