Two photos taken 364 days apart. On the left, the first blank page of a book as I sat down to begin writing exactly one year ago, on Jan. 4, 2016. On the right, that book–almost finished–on the far end of the year and as it arrived yesterday in the mail from the good folks at Touchstone.
I’ve got some touch-up edits to do, but it appears the type is set, the photos are in place, the words (I think) do what I’d always hoped they’d do. They tell one of the great, and one of the unlikeliest pop music success stories.
Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way will be released May 9. That’s the book’s third title. A lot changed between the photo on the left and the photo on the right, but that works. It remains a book about change: how people change, how places change, how time changes everything.
And so a disillusioned song wrapped in sunny vibes that first was the fourteenth biggest hit of 1977 became the feel-good hit of forty American years and a brand, a finely-detailed salve for the country’s cubicle culture.
“Margaritaville” doesn’t exist without Jimmy Buffett. Jimmy Buffett isn’t singing “Auld Lang Syne” with Paul McCartney at a Russian billionaire’s party on New Year’s Eve in St. Bart’s without “Margaritaville.”
Singer and song are inextricable and there’s a United States Trademark Trial and Appeals Board ruling to prove it. Margaritaville’s is the story of myths and legends, geography, history and James William Buffett’s ongoing search for elsewhere.
Here in the land of overtime and bootstraps with which to pull ourselves up, Margaritaville is an awfully powerful draw.
We’ll get to all that in good time. May is both right around the corner and a long ways off–especially here in frozen Portland.
For now, in this first week of 2017, I just wanted to pause again to say “hi” and introduce myself. I’m Ryan. I spent the last two years in Margaritaville. It was a lot of fun. I got to talk to Tom Corcoran, Mike Utley and Mac McAnally, Roger Bartlett, Deborah McColl, Keith Sykes, Will Kimbrough, Todd Snider, John Cohlan and dozens of other entertaining, friendly and insightful people. I look forward to sharing their stories.
I’ll be blogging here, and there’s a Facebook page for the book. I’d love it if you’d like it. Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way is available for pre-order, if that’s your thing. (An updated description of the book, based on the jacket copy, is on the way.)
For now, back to the edits. Lots of laughs to come.