"I'm happy with the material 'cause I've been working at it for a while," Buffett says
Jimmy Buffett  says he has tunes to the left and tunes to the right as he eyeballs his next studio album.
Buffett tells Billboard.com that he's "got a lot of songs and I'm gonna go in this year" to record a follow-up to 2009's "Buffet Hotel." "I'm happy with the material 'cause I've been working at it for a while," Buffett says, detailing songs such as "Useless and Important Information," which is "in the running for the album title," as well as "Einstein Was a Surfer," "I Want to Go Back to Cartagena" and "Clueless People in a 'Fraidy Cat World."
"I've got a couple of minor-key things," Buffett adds. "I'm excited about it, and (the material) is kinda piling up on us here, so I'm ready to go back in." Buffett says he's "written most of this stuff myself," though he's also worked with regular collaborators Mac McAnally and Will Kimbrough and has composed a song with Jerry Jeff Walker's son Django.
Buffett is considering a number of studios to work on the project, including his own Shrimp Boat facility in Key West, Fla., as well as EMI's Abbey Road studio and Mark Knopfler's British Grove Studios, both in West London, England. "I want to go in and do it together as a band," Buffett says. "We normally do that anyway, but then people are busy and have to go out and someone's usually phoning in a part from somewhere. This time I'd like to the whole thing all together... I started thinking, 'Do I really want to go in and make a record or do I want to just put a few (songs) out. I thought maybe I'd go in and do four or something, and then I said, 'Nah. I like going in the studio with my band, and it can be an experience."
Buffett, meanwhile, is already part of a No. 1 album this year, having joined Lionel Richie  for "All Night Long" on the former Commodores  member's "Tuskegee" set. "We go back to the Alabama days of playing colleges together, 'cause he was from Tuskegee and I was in Auburn," Buffett recalls. "I was playing frat parties and the Commodores were working colleges as well. We weren't friends or anything, but we certainly were crossing paths. So when I met him when we were working on ('Tuskegee') we kinda went back to some of those funnier times. He's a delightful guy. I think we got the song in like two takes, and it was so much fun doing it." Buffett and Richie will share the stage on June 28 at Detroit's Comerica Park.
Buffett's Lounging at the Lagoon tour kicks off May 30 in Austin, Texas. He also returned to his roots recently to open a waterfront Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant in Biloxi, Miss. -- the city where, he notes, "was the first place I ever made a dollar professionally." "Actually growing up down there, it's a big part of my family history and musical history," Buffett explains. "And then you throw in a couple of hurricanes and an oil spill...I care enough about this place to have wanted to do something to help recover from those things, and that's how (the casino) came about."
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