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Mac McAnally on Jimmy Buffett’s last album: “He was so proud of this one”

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Jimmy Buffett’s final album, Equal Strain on All Parts, is out now. Speaking to Billboard, the album’s co-producer Mac McAnally says even though Buffett was sick, he never let on that it could possibly be his final release.

“I wasn’t necessarily thinking in terms of this being the last thing he had to say, but I think, in retrospect, he probably was,” says McAnally, who produced the record with fellow Coral Reefer Band member Michael Utley. “But he never let on. He never surrendered to what was actually happening.” 

McAnally says Buffett was deliberate about the order in which the songs appear on the album, noting it begins with “University of Bourbon Street,” about his career start in New Orleans, and ends with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mozambique,” a place Buffett had wanted to visit.

“When he heard the whole album in sequence, he was so proud of this one in a way that I’ve never seen him be,” McAnally shares. “And that may be because he knew it was the last one and he got it right.”

Equal Strain on All Parts may not be the last music we hear from Buffett. While McAnally says it will be “the final complete project,” there are other songs that could see the light of day, including a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Amelia,” which McAnally describes as “gorgeous.”

Buffett passed away on September 1. McAnally says few people he worked with knew he was sick. “He didn’t want anybody feeling sorry for him. He just wanted to be this big ray of positivity that he always was,” says McAnally. “When I went and said goodbye to him the night before he died, he was still smiling just wider than his face.”

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