This was the tenth such ‘East Coast’ cruise and after our
‘once-in-a-lifetime’ in 2010 we were back for more!
There was a bewildering array of rhythm and blues on offer –a ‘broad
church’ if ever there was one – from the cheerful-cajun of Terrance
Simien to the Hendrixesque- pyrotechnics of Kenny Wayne Shepherd,
from the West-Coast swing of Rick Estrin to the sweet-soul of
Ryan Shaw, from the N’Awlins boogie-piano of John Cleary to
the gospel-harmonies of the Holmes Brothers, from the Chigago
old-school-blues of Bob Margolin to the funk of the Chicago
Playboys; the list goes on-and-on with no fewer than seventy shows in
Bestriding them all is the ‘patron-saint’ of blues-cruisers, Taj
Mahal and guest appearances from other legends such as Lonnie
Brooks and Matt ‘Guitar’Murphy.
Amongst the great advantages of this against other festivals are the
winter sun, the ‘cruise-ship-quality’ of the food on offer, the
proximity of your accommodation, the opportunity to see your favourite
acts three-or-four times in one week and, uniquely, the flying fish!
The artists love it, too, and regularly turn up on each others’ stages
to provide memorable jamming (Cory Harris playing frottoir-
rub-board with the Zydeco Experience was surreal but not
Canadian acoustic IBC winner, Matt Anderson, was the great
breakthrough ‘surprise package’ with Lonnie Brooks joining his son
onstage on his 44th birthday providing the most moving
We went ashore to Caribbean islands three times and had open-air
concerts on two of them.
It’s a heck-of-a-gig –we’ve already booked for our third
once-in-a-lifetime cruise in 2012!
Michael and Barbara Ford