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George Strait stands onstage, looking out at an excited sea of fans in everything from grass skirts and coconut-shell bras - on women and men - to pressed Wrangler jeans and cowboy hats.
"There's a fine line," he announces, "between Parrot Heads and rednecks."
Few would argue with the truth of that sentiment after a year that has seen Jimmy Buffett - the party-hearty Gulf Coast icon whose colorful fans are known as "Parrot Heads" - become a major presence in country music. His hit duet with Alan Jackson, "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere," spent eight weeks at No. 1 earlier this year. "I'm glad I could help his struggling career," joked Jimmy after heading onstage to pick up yet another award earned by the feel-good, singalong anthem. Amazingly, the CMA and ACM trophies the tune raked in were the first awards Jimmy has ever won, after more than three decades. And just as amazing, "Five O'Clock" was the first No. 1 song ever charted by Jimmy Buffett, whose 30-year career cultivated a passionate cult following around such hits as "Margaritaville," "Come Monday" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise."
Pick up this week'sCountry Weekly  to read more about the Jimmy Buffett concert, as well as the CMA Music Fest and much, much more!
-- Story by Chris Neal