Cayamo 2012: Wednesday Dispatch (A whole lot of Sara[h]s)
Someone at Sixth Man digs women named Sara[h]. And with good reason. On this cruise we have several Sara[h]s. First of all, there’s Sara Watkins, who has had at least 7 gigs already on this cruise. Rhett Miller brought Sara and brother Sean up to play a couple of songs yesterday and commented on her ubiquity. When Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt played together last night they were talking about Buddy Miller and Friends playing on the pool deck as the ship sailed away from the Dominican Republic. John Hiatt mentioned that whenever he sees the “and Friends” reference it hurts his feelings if he’s not one of the friends. Well, Sara’s feelings don’t get hurt much on this cruise, she and brother Sean were playing with Buddy. At the end of their show, Lyle and John brought (guess who?) Sara and Sean up to play a bit. Life lesson: If you end up with a daughter who wants to make it in the music business, I’d recommend that she learn to play the fiddle, be extremely beautiful and learn to sing like a songbird. That’ll get her a lot of gig invitations.
But Sara (without an h) Watkins is just the start of the Sarah parade here on the Norwegian Pearl. Before bringing the Watkins up yesterday, Rhett Miller had Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion up for a song. Over at the Magnums venue, Sarah Jaffe was getting ready to start her set during the next hour, following Sarah and Christian Dugas (of the Duhks). And then there’s Sarah Buxton as well. One of our goals for the week is to see all the Sara[h]s, I’ll let you know how that turns out. So far, the Sara[h]s are great.
Hard to believe we are at hump day here. Although there’s really no hump to get over at Cayamo except possibly the orientation to life at sea, which most have done by now. John Paul White told us during last night’s midnight show that Tuesday was much better than Monday for him (they cancelled a show Monday night due to his seasickness). We’ve not even felt queasy, though I have to admit I’ve had a patch behind my ear since we boarded.
We toured the mangroves and caves yesterday by boat, making it back just in time to see Buddy and Friends playing. Besides the Watkins, Buddy had Jim Lauderdale and Richard Thompson playing with him. How’s that for an all-star band? I forgot to mention in yesterday’s dispatch that Thompson played a blistering set early Monday afternoon with his trio. Thompson is like another performer all together when he straps on an electric guitar. And his drummer, Michael Jerome, is an amazing presence in center stage. Thompson described his band as a ‘power funk trio,” which, he said, is a contradiction in terms. No so much, really. During his set yesterday, Rhett Miller told us that he asked his daughter who her favorite performer was so far and she answered “Richard Thompson’s drummer.” Well, okay then. Hard to argue that one, even if he isn’t named Sara[h].
Speaking of Rhett Miller, his set yesterday afternoon was something special. If you haven’t seen him live, you’re missing out. That hair is flying around, his hips are moving like a modern day Elvis and he does this circular strumming thing which makes his right arm look like it’s on a swivel. And who can resist “I’ll stomp a mudhole in your heart” as a song hook? [P.S. all that stuff about hair and hips comes from Malinda. She also likes his eyes.] By the end of his set, Miller was soaked with sweat and smiling to beat the band. Which he didn’t have, as the Old 97’s didn’t make this trip.
After Miller we went to Open Mic, which was interesting. There were several talented performers in the 12, some novices and some who sang better than others. But it’s really hard to go from Rhett Miller to Open Mic. After that, we caught a bit of Aslyn before going to see John and Lyle, then walked to the Atrium just in time to see Ryan Montbleau Band close out with a cover of 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover. You had to see the reaction to believe it – this ship full of sophisticated alt-country/Americana fans were digging this pop song of all pop songs. Including us, as it was great. Second wind secured, we went back to the large theatre for The Civil Wars midnight show. What a way to end a day.
Today it’s our bonus show, which means we’ll have really good reserved seats for Buddy Miller at 6:00 after we return from a few hours on shore St. Maarten. After Buddy, maybe some Shawn Mullins (Mullins has made every Cayamo, by the way), then we’ll see Lucinda Williams at 10:00. After that, who knows, but we can choose from Sarah Lee and Johnny, Sarah Jaffe, Aurora Belle and/or a jam session with Edwin, Rhett, Angie, Joe and Jim. Decisions, decisions.