By Nathan Cartmell
On Sep. 1, 2023, Jimmy Buffett passed away at the age of 76. Born in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Buffett was the musician responsible for the hit songs “Margaritaville,” “Come Monday,” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Along with many other songs across four decades, he was an icon of the tropical rock genre. Outside of his music, Buffett also created the Margaritaville chain of restaurants.
I was 10 when I was formally introduced to Jimmy Buffett. My father had been a fan of his for decades, and I had grown up around Buffett’s music. However, I didn’t consider myself a fan of his music until my sister and I surprised my dad with a trip to see him in concert in Kansas City for Father’s Day in 2013. That was my first concert, and it shaped my taste in music. After that formative experience, I became a true and avid fan. Jimmy Buffett’s music was a huge influence on me when I was younger. His laid-back presence and relaxed voice were soothing to me, and his lyrics were easy to belt out in the car with my dad. My dad and I have bonded over Buffett’s music more than any other.
My dad has been an avid fan of Buffett since he was a kid. My dad says, “Jimmy’s music has been a part of the soundtrack of my life since I was fifteen years old. His lyrics to songs, his books, his storytelling, his concerts, and his other endeavors have provided me (as well as other friends and family I have been close with) with a wealth of countless memories that will follow me the rest of my days. Jimmy’s music has also been a constant for me throughout the peaks and valleys of my life and has served as an inspiration to dream, share the joy of music, and never take myself too seriously.”
Buffett’s songs are some of my favorites to sing during karaoke, and I’ve sung more duets with my dad and my sister on his songs than any others. He was a key part of my childhood. My life, along with many others, is better because of him, and his music will always be in my heart. I will greatly miss his presence on the great stage of life, but I know he will always be with us whenever we need a reminder that if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.