A journey through song

During the first week of February this year, Mr. Barb and I embarked on a week long journey through song.  The chartered cruise was called Cayamo (pronounced kay-AH-mo).  I would describe this inaugural event as Woodstock on water.  Ok, I realize there can’t really be another Woodstock and those that were there or say there were there or think they were there in 1969 will probably argue the point with me; but trust me this was quite a unique experience.

It was six days of sailing through the Western Caribbean with the cream of the crop of singer songwriters on board.  A new community of fans developed, united by the music.  We’ve never seen so many smiling friendly happy faces all in one place before.  The ports were secondary to the music on the ship.

Lounges, decks, atriums, lobbies and theaters provided unique venues for some very talented people.  Every night there was a headliner show.  I must confess here, I slept through many (okay most) of the headliners.  The shows were at 9:30 pm, after dinner.  When you’re sitting in a comfortable chair in a theater, with a full stomach and tired from running around all day, one tends to fall asleep.  I tried my best to stay awake and applaud at the appropriate times.  I understand from Mr. Barb I missed a lot of good performances.  It was all about the pacing, which we vow to be better at doing next year. I wanted to be awake for the 11:30 pm (and later) shows, so napping during the headliners seemed to work for me.

The Headliners (in the order I slept through them) were:

John Hiatt, Shawn Colvin, Lyle Lovett, Patty Griffin, Brandi Carlisle, and Emmylou Harris

Other singer songwriters on board included:

Adrianne, Ryan Bingham, Chuck Carrier, James David Carter, Clay Cook, Meghan Coffee, Patrick Davis, The Duhks, Danny Flowers, Gaelic Storm, Ernie Halter, David Ryan Harris, Ari Hest, Chris Janson, Keith Kane, Earl Klugh, Chrystina Lloree, Edwin McCain, Pat McGee, Buddy Miller, Miss Tess, Shawn Mullins, Oakhurst, Josh Rouse, Scarlet Kings, Holly Williams, Beth Wood, Clair Wyndham, and Brandon Young.

Did we get to see every performer? No, we had to sleep (or in my case nap) once in awhile.  We also had to eat and thus had to make a decision to bypass a few performances in the process.  Near the end of the cruise, we tried to at least see a couple of songs by the performers we hadn’t had the chance to experience yet.  So we would poke our heads inside venues or stand outside to at least say we heard them.  There was a merchandise store to purchase the artist's CD’s, but there’s nothing like a live performance.

As you might expect, the coolest moments were the unscripted and unexpected ones.  Like when a performer would join another performer up on stage, unplanned and just sing along or jam.  Brandi Carlisle joined Shawn Mullins, Edwin McCain and David Ryan Harris on The Band’s “The Weight” (which ended up being a popular song during the cruise).  The performers all seemed to be having a great time interacting with each other and enjoying the fan’s often enthusiastic responses.  The atmosphere was right for spontaneous collaborations.  And some of the performers brought family with them, so hopefully they were able to enjoy the cruise as a little vacation.

During one of Edwin McCain’s shows, he swapped places with Ari Hest (who was doing a performance in the lounge behind where Edwin was playing).  What fun being able to see Ari perform a song!

I was mainly enticed to sign up for the cruise due to Edwin McCain and Shawn Mullins being two of the performers.  I was in all my glory when they teamed up to do a concert in an intimate lounge on board.  Now we know they really are two different people.  Edwin and Shawn often get requests for each other’s songs during their concerts.

On the Lido Deck, Edwin McCain, Shawn Mullins and David Ryan Harris (who is in John Mayer’s band) performed in front of a huge crowd of people sitting in their beach chairs in bathing suits.  Mr. Barb took what ended up being my favorite photo from the cruise:  Shawn looking out into the crowd and you could see the reflection of the people in his mirrored sunglasses (check it out at the bottom of this post!).  The performers seemed to feed off the enthusiasm of the fans.

Performances were being added to the schedule as the cruise went along.  I got to see Edwin McCain and Shawn Mullins perform a total of four times (twice solo; twice together).  Trust me, they compliment each other very well on stage.

On the cruise we discovered acts like The Duhks, Gaelic Storm, Oakhurst, Scarlet Kings, Ryan Bingham, Ari Hest, Evan McHugh and others.  We came home with many CD’s to listen to, to re-live the musical journey.

I can’t really capture the full experience of being on a cruise ship in the middle of the Western Caribbean in February with all this music everywhere.  We had perfect sunny, hot weather and even got sun burned!  While we had an inside cabin, you really only spend time in your cabin to sleep a little bit, shower in a moving telephone booth and change clothing a few times a day.  Once you got your bearings on the boat, it was easy to get around and plan your strategy about which shows to see and when.  Each act usually performed a few times throughout the cruise and Mr. Barb and I would split up at times to hear someone again or someone we hadn’t seen before.  When you’re on vacation and not dealing with daily distractions you’re okay with festival seating at some venues and going early to get a good seat.

We had so much fun this year, we plan to take the journey into song again next year, during the first week of March.  Another night has been added, and this time we will be sailing through the Eastern Caribbean.  We are looking forward to hearing and discovering some more singer songwriters.  And, hopefully, if the technology gods are with us, I can maybe blog on a daily basis.  Our cabin will be on the same floor as the Internet café.


Barb S.- Sunday Mix Host