Thank you, ma’am; Taylor Hicks joins the Jam
“Seriously? Are you KIDDING me?!”
Annabel sounded incredulous. Clearly that first question had an answer that should have been obvious. Sadly, it wasn’t to me. So I swallowed hard, asked again, and then very patiently, Annabel explained.
By the time we finished talking, I understood. Jam Cruise is an event of mythical proportion and significant reputation among those who have attended. Responses from passengers on last year’s Jam Cruise 8 were eerily similar in both content and unrestrained enthusiasm to the Cruise director’s.
Why should I book a cabin on Jam Cruise?
Annabel: Jam Cruise is the most exciting and luxurious music festival ANYWHERE. It’s an opportunity to spend five days with like-minded people of all ages, immersed in music. There are five venues; three different shows run concurrently. At any one time, you could be listening to electronic bluegrass, funk, rock, blues or soul. There is non-stop music from 11:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. the next day, every day of the Cruise. The Jam Room opens at midnight, and some incredible music is made. You never know who will appear on any given night, but amazing musicians combine to create a sound that is new and surprising.
On Jam Cruise, every passenger has a backstage pass. There is unprecedented access to artists with autograph sessions and artist based activities. Artists mix easily and comfortably with the passengers, and after watching your favorite musician onstage, you could find yourself seated next to him/her at dinner that evening.
JC8 passenger “Joker”: Jam Cruise is basically some of the coolest venues I have ever seen all in one place. The longest walk between any of these was 5 minutes. No line to get in; no buzzkill security at the door. I soon discovered one of the great things about Jam Cruise – it is limited by the number of rooms and beds, not by capacity of the venues. Never once on my adventure did I want to see something go down on the boat and not have dance floor space.
You’re up close and personal with the artists. To add to the fun and weirdness that is Jam Cruise, I set up a sock puppet making class on deck during some downtime. After a few female passengers began making puppets, keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth walked by the table. “Hey Kyle, want to make a sock puppet?” He paused for a second and thought about it, then without a word came over to the table. “Ok, so how do I do this?” Yes, I taught Kyle Hollingsworth how to make a sock puppet for his daughter. Only on Jam Cruise!
Why do artists return year after year to Jam Cruise?
Annabel: Artists get to perform with other musicians that they never thought they’d have the opportunity to meet. Friendships are made. Bands have formed through bonds forged on Jam Cruise. Artists have gone on tour together after first meeting on the Cruise. For example, Grace Potter met Sharon Jones onboard; the two soul artists toured together this fall to rave reviews.
Why do passengers return to Jam Cruise?
Annabel: They come back year after year; it’s like a family reunion. People come from around the United States and from overseas to share the Cruise experience. Many sign up for next year’s Cruise while still onboard.
Each year the experience is fresh. We try to book as many new musicians as possible to complement the returning bands. New faces for 2011 include Anders Osborne, Stockholm Syndrome, Rhythm Devils, and members of the Grateful Dead, among others.
JC8 passengers: The music alone is enough, but it’s more than the music. It’s a five day party with friends, and the party starts before you’ve even left the dock. In 2010 Trombone Shorty played the deck and the horns as passengers boarded the ship. Everyone was excited; there were smiles everywhere. Jam Cruisers are a friendly bunch; returning passengers are known as “Repeat Offenders” and they go out of their way to welcome newcomers.
Every year there are two themed nights. Jam Cruisers love costumes. In 2010 the themes were “Superheros and Villains” and ” Funk N Formal”. Some of the costumes were amazing.
Several special guests are booked to the Cruise each year. What is their role?
Annabel: Special guests float between music venues, sitting in with various bands and adding their unique perspective. Guests are free to create and collaborate. Many of the guests spend time in the Jam Room.
How was Taylor Hicks recruited to Jam Cruise 9?
Annabel: We saw Taylor perform at the Superjam after Widespread Panic at Red Rocks. It was FABULOUS; he fit right in the mix. It was meant to be. Taylor will be a special guest on Jam Cruise. In addition to playing music, he has agreed to participate in one of our artist based activities. He’ll be the host of the Gong Show, where passengers have a chance to showcase their talent. If the gong strikes, they’re gone!
Jam Cruise 9 departs Ft. Lauderdale January 4, 2011. At last count, only 10 of 1275 cabins on the MSC Poesia remained available. Here’s the good news: prebooking for 2012’s Jam Cruise 10 has just begun. You’re right on time!
For more on Jam Cruise: http://www.jamcruise.com/2011/home
Excerpt from Joker’s hilarious Jam Cruise 8 recap reprinted with permission; read more here: http://phishcoventry.blogspot.com/2010/01/jam-cruise-8-recaps-setting-stage.html
MSC Poesia: Annabel Lukins and Cloud 9 Adventures
Ivan Neville in the Jam Room/Costumed passenger: Paul McLaren; more quality Jam Cruise 8 photos from Mr. McLaren here: http://albums.phanfare.com/isolated/dZRRtc1L/1/4532318
Keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth & sock puppet: The Joker
Musician Taylor Hicks with Karl Denson and Ron Johnson at 7th Annual Rocky Mountain Power Jam: http://www.taylorhicks.com/