Writer Tom McGuane spoke to Variety about Jimmy Buffett, who also happened to be his brother in law:
“Jimmy was a reader. In fact, a friend of his gave me his copy of E.B. White’s collected essays, and every sentence had his comments in the margins. He grew up in a household that was working class, but cultivated people, really, especially his mother. His mother was very literate and a very good book reader. She’d always wanted to go to college, and couldn’t afford to. And she finished her working life and went to college and graduated after starting at 65. And he read all the time. Quite apart from music or anything, he was very smart and curious and had tons of energy.
“He was always working very hard on his music, even when there was little support for that [in Key West days]. We’d all gather around and he would play his songs for us, and some of them later became famous songs that were very much professionally produced, but I was really stuck back on the version where he just picked them out on his acoustic guitar and sang them."
McGuane adds: "One of the things I think was Buffett’s genius in terms of a long-term career is he really never changed. He didn’t become a different kind of singer. He didn’t become a disco singer. He didn’t become a metal singer. From early on to the end, you could always tell who was singing the songs. He was non-adaptable, in that way, and that served him well."