Posts Tagged songs from st. somewhere

Jimmy Buffett’s mellow ‘Songs From St. Somewhere’ includes Mardi Gras gem

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I have a new goal in life, thanks to Jimmy Buffett: I want to spend so much time drifting from one island paradise to another that I get completely careless about which one I’m actually on. “Where are you?” folks back home will ask when I take their calls. “Ahh, Saint somewhere-or-other,” I’ll reply, fiddling with the umbrella in my cocktail.

The tropical troubadour’s brand-new album is “Songs From St. Somewhere,” and if that sounds a bit jaded, the Gulf Coast native takes pains in his liner notes to explain otherwise. He gives credit to St. Barthelemy in the French West Indies as one of the sites where recording took place. And he explains that St. Somewhere is more a state of mind. “St. Somewhere is not a place you can get to by consulting your GPS or going on Google Earth … Music is the compass that charts your course to this imaginary rock,” he writes.

Still, when you can’t even come up with a real fictional name for your imaginary rock, you’re pretty mellow. And this is, even for Buffett, a relaxed album. His vocal approach is so easygoing that on some tracks it sounds more like spoken-word storytelling set to music than singing.

But he does invest himself in the stories, and they’re what stand out about this particular collection. A classic Cadillac and the circus performer who loved it? The ne’er do-well who steals a car from a Russian mobster? This is enjoyably weird stuff.

Buffett visits all his favorite ports of call, as he’s surely entitled to do at this point in his career. Want some jokey near-novelty songs? Here’s “Too Drunk to Karaoke,” with Toby Keith, and “Einstein Was a Surfer.”

Want to travel vicariously to some exotic locales? Cue up “Rue De La Guitare” or “I Want to Go Back to Cartagena.” Want some of those philosophical numbers where he arcs from his beach-bum image to metaphysical musings? Turn to “Somethin’ Bout a Boat” or “Tides” or “Colour of the Sun,” or check in with the “Oldest Surfer on the Beach.” (The last features guitar ace Mark Knopfler.)

In the middle of it all is “I’m No Russian,” an epic about a joyride in a borrowed Lamborghini. The real marvel isn’t that the references to drone warfare, the assassination of a Russian expatriate in England and the forcible suppression of a female Moscow punk band are all so completely facetious: it’s the song’s six-and-a-half minute runtime and Buffett’s funky willingness to delve deep into a shallow scenario.

A couple of notes on local flavor:

Firstly, Mobilian Will Kimbrough, who has worked with Buffett in the past, is featured as an “honorary Coral Reefer.” He’s credited as co-writer on “I Want to Go Back to Cartagena” and “The Rocket That Grandpa Rode,” and Buffett also includes a cover of his “Soulfully.”

Secondly, the rest of the world might miss this, but Mobile-area listeners won’t: In “Serpentine,” the pirate sings with considerable heart about the impact that Carnival season had on his formative years.

Beads and confetti were littering the air

When the Queen looked at me with her Ava Gardner stare

Though tomorrow would bring ashes and penance by the ton

Mardi Gras’s where I learned to have fun

There’s a flambeaux man with a gold earring

And the cold north wind smells like kerosene

I’m still in love with the Carnival Queen

Still want to wrap her in Serpentine

Like much of “Songs From St. Somewhere,” it’s on the mellow side. You couldn’t second-line to it. But I’ll bet you could slow-dance to it. And I’ll be that here in Mobile, at least, people will.

By Lawrence Specker | 

CD Review – Jimmy Buffett “Songs From St. Somewhere”

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Music Review: Buffett's first new album in 4 years, 'Songs from St. Somewhere,' lacks sparkJimmy Buffett’s “Songs from St. Somewhere” (Mailboat Records) contains a boatful of tunes about escapism, which is what Jimmy Buffett does the best.

There are 15 songs and a bonus track on Buffett’s first studio album in four years, but the best music on “Songs from St. Somewhere” come from somebody else.

The album’s loosely defined concept is the lost island of St. Somewhere, a phrase coined in the late 1970s by colorful Boston Bruins center Derek Sanderson. The album’s most brilliant performance comes in Buffett’s cover of the Jesse Winchester lost-at-sea love ballad “I Wave Bye-Bye.” Allen Toussaint covered “I Wave Bye-Bye” on last year’s Winchester tribute album “Quiet About It” that Buffett assembled (also featuring James Tayor, Rosanne Cash and others) and released on Mailboat . The Louisiana-born singer-songwriter was fighting esophageal cancer. Buffett’s sparse and sincere version holds up well against Winchester and Toussaint.

Django Walker, the son of cosmic cowboy Jerry Jeff Walker, co-wrote “Somethin’ About a Boat,” framed by easygoing John Prine rhythms, and the record’s greatest surprise is the tender “Oldest Surfer on the Beach,” written not by Buffett but by Mark Knopfler, who also plays guitar on the track. Buffett is in good form with the coastal Colombian cumbia-driven “I Want To Go Back to Cartagena” which features Colombian singer Fanny Lu. Emilio Estefan produced the Spanish bonus track of “Cartagena.”

The bad news is when Buffett tries to dip his toes into the same country-music waters that delivered crossover success with the Alan Jackson collaboration “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere.” This time redneck Toby Keith gets the call for “Too Drunk to Karaoke,” anchored by crunchy and cloying Bachman-Turner-Overdrive guitar riffs. You’d have to be pretty drunk to enjoy this song, co-written by Buffett, Mac McAnnaly, Shawn Camp and my Nashville bud Pat McLaughlin.

Buffett’s other songs are so topical and novella-driven they create a narrow scope: the rockabilly-tinged “The Rocket That Grandpa Rode” closes out with tributes to Neil Armstrong, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, and on the folk-rock “I’m No Russian,” Buffett goes to bat for the persecuted band Pussy Riot in between lyrics like “I’m no Russian/not even Prussian/Some say I’m nervy/Hell I’m from Jersey…..”

The musical tide can be high during moments on St. Somewhere, but there needs to be more down-to-earth sentiment in the style of Jesse Winchester.

Simple can be beautiful.

Dave Hoekstra

Jimmy Buffett sings about ‘that rocket’ Neil Armstrong rode

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August 26, 2013 — In “The Rocket That Grandpa Rode,” a song off Jimmy Buffett’s first new album in four years, the “man from Margaritaville” sings about the man on the moon.”And the kids turned into flying machines with their arms opened wide like wings, but one solitary boy knows the plane is not a toy, I’m talking about the man on the moon,” croons Buffett in the twelfth track from “Songs From St. Somewhere,” the singer’s 27th studio album released last week.

Buffett is “talking” about Neil Armstrong, the moonwalker who died one year ago Sunday (Aug. 25). As commander of the Apollo 11 mission, Armstrong took “one small step” to make “a giant leap for all mankind” on July 20, 1969.

But it wasn’t the astronaut’s passing that apparently led to Buffet’s song. As the lyrics to “The Rocket That Grandpa Rode” hint, inspiration came from a trip the musician took a year earlier, in July 2011.

“We’re going to watch the shuttle fly away – last day,” the song recounts.

Buffett was among the guests invited to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to witness the final launch of the space shuttle program on July 8, 2011. To get to the VIP viewing site, the singer rode a bus with other spectators.

“And for some kids behind my seat, there’s a very special treat, more than just history on parade,” Buffett describes in “The Rocket That Grandpa Rode.”

Those kids happened to be Armstrong’s grandchildren.

As recalled by Rick Armstrong, one of the moonwalker’s two sons, he and his children were seated in the very last row of the bus. As they were driven past the voluminousVehicle Assembly Building, he remarked something along the line of, “that is where the rocket that grandpa rode was put together.”

Hearing this, the man seated in front of Armstrong and his family turned around and replied, “That sounds like a good idea for a song,” Rick Armstrong recounted in an e-mail to collectSPACE.

The exchange led to introductions and Jimmy Buffett met the Armstrongs.

NASA’s VIP launch viewing site is located adjacent to the Apollo/Saturn V Center, where one of the three remaining Saturn V rockets is on full display. The 363-foot-long (110 meter) booster was the type of rocketship that Armstrong — together with Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins — rode to the moon in July 1969.

Giant nozzles, bolts and beams,” Buffett sings, “She was a stairway to heaven, ole’ Apollo 11.”

“The rocketship their Grandpa drove,” the chorus repeats.

Buffett did more than watch space shuttle Atlantis lift off that day. He also performed a private concert for shuttle workers, marking the end of 30 years of launches.

As “The Rocket That Grandpa Rode” ends, Buffett thanks NASA, as he does “Neil.”

It’s not the only time the singer paid tribute to the first man to walk on the moon.

On Aug. 25, 2012, on the day Armstrong died, Buffett was performing for an audience in Wisconsin, when at the end of his show, he dedicated an encore performance to the late astronaut.

“We lost a great flyer in America today, “Buffett told the concertgoers. “Neil Armstrong passed away, the man on the moon. As you know, flying has been an inspiration in my life the whole time so I’d like to send this off to Neil Armstrong’s family tonight. It’s a little thing called ‘Oysters and Pearls’ and he certainly was a pearl.”

The song’s lyrics cite aviator Charles Lindbergh and artist Elvis Presley. Buffett added a final stanza for that night’s rendition.

“Neil Armstrong walked upon the moon, and now he has gone to heaven,” Buffet sang.

Jimmy Buffett, Songs from St. Somewhere

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Songs From St. Somewhere

Jimmy Buffett, Songs from St. Somewhere (Mailboat Records) * * 1/2

At 66, Jimmy Buffett is still filling arenas, releasing studio albums every few years when many of his peers coast on nostalgia, and he’s got an empire of restaurants, beers and hotels to manage.

Still, no one takes the time to write more thoughtful liner notes than this guy. “ St. Somewhere popped out of a toaster of tropical tales that was powered by books that I had read, or stories I had been told by my seafaring forefathers. Like Treasure Island, Kinja and Margaritaville, St. Somewhere is not a place you can get to by consulting your GPS or going on Google Earth. The islands I have spent a good deal of my adult life on, over, under and around … are situated between the tip of Florida and the northeast corner of South America. The island where much of the work on this record was done is St. Barthelemy.”

All of that in a lavishly illustrated booklet in a world of downloads where few read lyrics or include liners anymore. But Buffett owns the label, too. He can give himself the lavish treatment along with an expense account as St. Somewhere, his 26th studio album, was recorded all over the world. The 16 songs were cut in studios in Miami (with Emilio Estefan producing a redundant Spanish version bonus track of I Want to Go Back to Cartagena, which differs only in the addition of guest vocalist Fanny Lu), Key West, St. Barts, Nashville, Austin and London.

But unlike the return to form songwriting that populated Buffet Hotel, his 2009 album, St. Somewherefinds Buffett and his Coral Reefers sailing into Holiday Inn lounge territory on an overlong set of overly polished tropical ballads with lazy steel drum rhythms and slick production from long-time collaborators Mike Utley and Mac MacAnally. There is an occasional rouser, like the rather predictable Too Drunk to Karaoke duet with Toby Keith and, by comparison, the superior Dire Straits-like pulse of Useless But Important Information, in which the head Parrothead tackles Twitter.

Buffett and MacAnally come through with the most winsome melody line ( Serpentine) but only Mark Knopfler, who appears on two tracks, writes a true Buffett song that could stand alongside keepers on ‘70s albums like Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.

Knopfler’s Oldest Surfer on the Beach is everything one finds appealing in vintage Buffett: a smart seafaring tune that evokes time and place, an engaging melody and a warm vocal from the lead salt. Should Buffett pop out another studio album, a new producer who could push the star and his band back to their guitar-oriented roots would be the best ticket.


Jimmy Buffett CD Release & Full Moon Party

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Jimmy Buffett CD Release & Full Moon Party Package!

IMG_2347Parrothead alert! Join us at Margaritaville under the August Full Moon for the release of Jimmy Buffett’s newest CD, “Songs From St. Somewhere”, with 15 brand new recordings! CD Release Party Package includes a one night stay at Margaritaville Beach Hotel, where Jimmy’s music has become a lifestyle, a copy of Jimmy Buffett’s newest CD and access to the Full Moon & CD Release Party!

Hotel Stay: August 20th
Full Moon & CD Release Party 6pm-11pm
Music from “Songs From St. Somewhere”
Live Music from the Calypso Nuts
Margaritaville Masterpieces Art party
Glitter Tattoo Artists
Flame Throwers
…and more!

Book your CD Release Party Package today by calling 850-916-9755.

Margaritaville Beach Hotel