Cayamo 2012: Monday Dispatch
The Sixth Man folks high fived us yesterday when we boarded the Norwegian Pearl to start the Cayamo cruise. They were fired up and wanted us to be as excited as they are about the week ahead, which really wasn’t a problem, as we’d been fired up and excited since we reserved our spot. They call it A Journey Through Song, and it’s just that, a music cruise from Miami down to the islands with Lucinda Williams, John Prine, Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Rhett Miller, The Civil Wars, Buddy Miller, Sara Watkins, James McMurtry and a ton of other artists. A lineup like that would generate excitement for any music lover, and when you combine it with sunshine, ocean and a few beaches in February, what can you say about that, except “I’m in!” The majority of folks on this sold out cruise are alums, by the way, and they know their music. As we stood in line to board the ship yesterday, it seemed like each one had a favorite artist or 10 and was willing to tell you about where they saw them play or a story about the time they met them.
Coming into the cruise one of the stories we heard most was about hitting the fitness center at 6:00 a.m. only to realize you’re on the treadmill next to Steve Earle. (I wondered how he got so buff.) Earle isn’t on this cruise, but yesterday as we gathered around the pool having the first drink and a bite of lunch we were surrounded by a lot of the artists who will be entertaining us in the coming week, including Keb’ Mo’ and The Civil Wars. Taking the elevator to our stateroom we bumped into Buddy Miller, who’s dubbed the Honorary Captain of the cruise. It’s that kind of experience where there is little or no separation between artists and fans, yet everyone seems to respect the artists’ space while they’re not on stage. All the togetherness is nice for the artists, too, as they get the chance to play with folks they normally don’t get to spend time with. Which, in turn, is good for the fans because you never know who might come on stage at any given time.
Sixth Man has their act together on this Fifth Edition of Cayamo (you pronounce it with a long a, Kay-ah-mo, by the way). There are four nights of ticketed events, with John Prine, Lyle Lovett & John Hiatt, Lucinda Williams and Buddy Miller serving as the headline acts. Everyone gets a shot at seeing everyone in their selected time slot (6, 8 or 10) with one bonus ticket to another event – ours is Buddy Miller, which means we’ll probably see him play at least 3 times since he will be on the pool deck welcoming everyon back from their shore excursions tomorrow, too. Besides the ticketed events, everything else is general admission, with acts playing all over the ship. You really feel like a kid in a candy store when trying to figure out who you’re going to see. For example, tonight my wife Malinda wants to see The Civil Wars who come on at 9:00 in the big theatre (tonight’s not one of the ticketed nights). I’d prefer to see James McMurtry in the Spinnaker Lounge. So, we’ll have to work that out. But we can discuss it during the day as we see Richard Thompson at 1:00, Keb’ Mo’ at 3:00 and then Ryan Montbleau Band at 4:30 out by the pool, hopefully while sitting in one of the hot tubs. [An aside here: We watched the Super Bowl last night with Ryan and his band in one of the bars. They were cheering for New England and we were cheering for the Giants. They were good sports, though, as things fell apart for their team.]
We have the 10:00 tickets, so last night we saw John Prine play in that time slot. He was great as always, ticking through as many of his great songs as he could in 60 minutes. Iris Dement joined him at the end for In Spite Of Ourselves and then provided backup harmonies on Paradise. Paradise it was, and paradise it will be as we are at sea today, headed for the Dominican Republic, then to St. Maarten and finally to St. Barts.
[Though internet is at quite a premium here, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to dispatch a couple more times during the week. A big shout out and thanks to Anthony and Rachel at Sixth Man for making the No Depression correspondents welcome and providing us with a little more access to the artists and even to some internet. And forgive a typo here and there, it’s hard to type quickly with a rum drink in each hand.]