Summer Music List: The Artists That Best Represent Summer to Me

Photo by Chris Queen

One of our VIP readers, who is a friend of mine from church, sent me a suggestion a few weeks ago that intrigued me. I’ve kept it in my pocket for a few weeks, but now it feels like time.

My friend John texted me and suggested a summer music list post. The trouble is that my music tastes are so eclectic that it would be a long list, so I decided to start a summer mini-series with different genres of summer music.

Here’s my first list. It covers the two artists who best represent summertime to me.

Zac Brown Band

The Zac Brown Band is one of my favorite bands. I’ve followed them since before they became superstars, and I’ve seen them live more than any other artist other than Jimmy Buffet. I saw them last weekend, and they put on one of the best shows that I’ve seen in a long time.

Here’s a sampling of some of their songs that are perfect for summer:

Most everybody is familiar with “Toes” and “Chicken Fried” from the band’s first album “The Foundation,” but “Where the Boat Leaves From” is a great companion piece.

“Island Song” is another fun poolside or beach jam. Whether you’re getting away to an island or just wish you could, it’s easy to identify with the guy in the song.

Thematically, “Castaway” is “Island Song 2.0,” but it’s irresistibly catchy nonetheless.

In 2013, ZBB released an EP in which they collaborated with Dave Grohl. It was a slight departure from the band’s previous output, and it may have encouraged some of their later more experimental stuff. “Let It Rain” from “The Grohl Sessions, Vol. 1” is perfect for this list because we’ve all found ourselves caught in a summer storm every once in a while.

“Love and Sunsets” is my all-time favorite ZBB song, and you can find it on the band’s criminally underrated 2021 album “The Comeback.” It’s perfect for relaxing at the end of a summer day and appreciating the good things in life.

The band’s new single “Tie Up” adds to the summer fun. It was the first recording to feature the band’s newest member, Caroline Jones.


I featured the band’s other new single “Pirates and Parrots,” a Jimmy Buffett tribute featuring the Coral Reefer Band's Mac McAnally, a couple of weeks ago when I guest-hosted the Morning Briefing. It’s a worthy tribute to the man who inspired a million summer songs.


When I saw ZBB live last weekend, they played “Pirates and Parrots” and then performed “Knee Deep,” their hit duet with Buffett. During Buffett’s parts, the recording of his vocal played, and the band members stood off their mics respectfully. It was a moving tribute.

Jimmy Buffett

The late Jimmy Buffett is another favorite of mine, and everybody knows that his music is tailor-made for summertime listening. Of course, the classics like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” stand the test of time, but plenty of his other songs are perfect for summer days by the pool, lake, or ocean.

“Fins” is one of my favorite story songs that never gets old.

“Holiday” is a great reminder that we all could use a vacation from time to time.


“Son of a Son of a Sailor” is a bona fide Buffett classic, but I’ve always enjoyed the live versions that feature Nadirah Shakoor on vocals.

Who among us hasn’t dreamed of visiting that “One Particular Harbour”? Buffett brought those dreams to life in one of his most popular tunes.

Buffett didn’t write “Banana Republics,” but it’s a terrific song — and, let’s face it, it’s appropriate for our current circumstances.

I mentioned in my post after Buffett’s death that “When the Coast Is Clear” is one of his most beautiful and poetic songs. It’s a perfect end-of-summer song for people who live in tourist areas after the rush has calmed down.

Of course, "Come Monday" is an ideal end-of-summer tune. He wrote and sang it from the perspective of a musician who is coming off a summer tour and wants to spend time with the woman he loves. A true classic.

That's my first list! I'll have at least one or two more in this series, and I'm hoping to talk some of my PJ Media colleagues into creating lists of their own.


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