When I was music editor at Rolling Stone in the ’90s, I was asked — well, told — to do a Q&A with Jimmy Buffett. Not being a fan of his music, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed talking to him. Buffett died today at 76.
In 1996, Capitol Records released a box set of country singer Merle Haggard’s music. After this review ran in Rolling Stone, a writer for a conservative newspaper, The Washington Times, took me to task for putting a liberal spin to the songs of a conservative artist. But as I wrote in this review — and I stand by it — seeing Haggard simply as a “conservative” doesn’t do him or his full body of work justice.
The prospect of sitting down with Billy Joe Shaver and talking about his music had been exciting for me. After all, so many of his songs had been an important part of my teen years.