Like Having a Cheeseburger in Paradise
By Will Johnson
CROCKETT – The 2019 Summer Lightnin’ Series kicked off on Friday, June 7 with a tropical feel. The evening was warm, but not sweltering like a typical June night in East Texas.
A light breeze drifted through the Sallas Amphitheater and if you closed your eyes, you could almost smell the ocean as the music of Jimmy Buffet filled air. While it wasn’t the real singer/songwriter, the Lost Shaker of Salt band brought out the Parrot Heads, the beach balls, and all things Buffet for the opening acct of the Piney Woods Fine Arts Association’s sixth season of hosting the outdoor concert series.
Prior to taking the stage, lead singer Mark Moss took time to speak with The Messenger about the band.
“We were in a three piece rockabilly band – the bass player, the drummer and myself – when a friend of ours said we should really think about doing a Jimmy Buffett tribute band. We kind of chuckled and said, ‘How are we going to do that?’” Moss said.
“He said we’re going to need to get some more instruments in there and y’all are going to need someone a lot prettier than you in the band,” he laughed.
Moss said they brought in his wife on congas, a keyboardist “… and all of a sudden we started getting all this interest we had never gotten before with our rockabilly band. It continued to blossom and we continued to have this great response to Jimmy Buffet. Plus, we’re having the time of our lives!”
The band is made up of Robert Renton on bass, Will Renton on keyboards, Lauren Moss on congas and Shane Gormly on drums.
Asked what was inspired a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, Moss said he and his bandmates were always astonished by the amount of fun people seemed to have at a Buffet concert.
“The people let their inhibitions go and have fun. That’s the reason we all decided to be in a band so many years ago. We wanted to have fun and entertain audiences. Sometimes, however, people don’t want to have fun, even if they love you. With the Buffet crowd, it’s a different type of vibe. No one can be mad and listen to ‘Margaritaville,’” he said.
While some tribute bands try and put their own spin or interpretation on the artist(s) they’re paying homage to, Moss said that was not the case with Lost Shaker of Salt.
“We really wanted to pay tribute to Buffet and keep his music intact. We do our best to try and really honor the song – not change it up. We try and keep the integrity of the music together and that’s why we try and keep the music as close to the CD as possible. We try and do our best to pay tribute to – not only the man – but to the music as well,” he said.
One of the unique aspects of Jimmy Buffet’s music is the fan base, known as Parrot Heads, who follow the musician from venue to venue.
Moss was asked if Lost Shaker of Salt had developed anything similar.
“It’s interesting. We played a gathering for the Galveston Parrot Head club and the Houston Parrot Head club. There are Parrot Head clubs all over the United States and we were shocked when we played the House of Blues as to how many of the same folks came out to see us. We got a nod of approval from them and we were told they were hearing songs they hadn’t heard in a very long time, played the way they wanted to hear them,” he said.
“There are Buffet fans everywhere we go,” he continued. “They will wear Hawaiian shirts, they will wear flip-flops and they enjoy not only the music, but the experience. We try and do that. We try and make people laugh, we have a good time and we’re light-hearted. We take the music very seriously but we try and have a good time with the audience. If they leave here and they haven’t had a good time, it’s a failure on our part.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.