Caroline Jones on Tonight’s Jimmy Buffett Tribute at the CMA Awards: “We’re Really Honored”

Caroline Jones will share the stage with bandmates Zac Brown Band, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, and Mac McAnally during tonight’s CMA Awards to pay tribute to her late mentor Jimmy Buffett. The singer/songwriter attended the 2023 BMI Country Awards in Nashville on Tuesday (November 7) and spoke with American Songwriter about the late singer and the advice he had bestowed on her.

Videos by American Songwriter

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“He was such a special character,” Jones tells American Songwriter of Buffett. “There will never be another one remotely like him. It’s a real honor. He was a huge part of my career. I really owe the career that I have to him and Zac Brown. So, to be tributing him on the CMA Awards with Zac Brown, Mac McAnally, and Kenny Chesney, I mean, these are all people who have taken me on tour and taken me under their wings.”

Jones’ early career included touring local schools in New England. She was later mentored by Buffett after he recognized her at a Hurricane Disaster Relief benefit in Florida. The pair teamed up to release the charity song “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On,” and Jones was later signed to the late icon’s label. 

Jones adds that she was “so lucky to be in his orbit.” She says Buffett shared so much advice on life and songwriting over the years but the major takeaway is that “he led by example to the whole world.”

“He’s a very deep person, but also a light-hearted person and he had a positive message,” she says. “He was able to make a career and a business out of bringing people together which seems to be a dying art and I hope I can carry that on.”

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Jones will be carrying on that message tonight during her CMA Awards performance of “Margaritaville” with Zac Brown Band.

“It’s a classic,” she says of the song. “We’re really honored, the whole band, Zac Brown Band, we’re really honored to be part of it. I know Zac loved Jimmy.”

As far as the best songwriting advice she’s received, Jones says to “find your voice.” Jones’ solo single “Million Little Bandaids” featuring Zac Brown Band is available now.

The CMA Awards air live from Nashville on Wednesday (November 8) at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for BMI

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