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The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise 2013

On-board blues party takes to the Caribbean


Blues Hall of Famer Taj Mahal

Blues Hall of Famer Taj Mahal

Photo by Jay Blakesberg, courtesy Head's Up Records

The stage has been set for The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Caribbean Cruise 2013 as they recently announced another impressive, high-powered line-up of blues, R&B, blues-rock, roots-rock, and soul artists to entertain a boatload of enthusiastic music fans. Pre-booking of the cruise has already taken place, but you can still submit your name as a "person of interest" to be notified when a spot on the boat becomes available.

The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Caribbean Cruise

Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise #20 through the Caribbean will take place from January 20th through 27th, 2013; departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and sailing through Tortola, St. Kitts, and Half Moon Bay. The week-long cruise promises a "festival atmosphere" with autograph sessions, over 70 scheduled shows, and nightly jam sessions among the performers.

Among the headliners confirmed for the January 2013 cruise are recent Blues Hall of Fame inductee Taj Mahal, who will be backed by the Phantom Blues Band; legendary blues-rock guitarist Elvin Bishop, who will be joined by singer Mickey Thomas; gospel-blues legend Mavis Staples; and the extraordinary Louisiana guitarist Tab Benoit. Last year Bishop released his Raisin' Hell Revue: Live On The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, the album offering fans a taste of the entertainment from the ship with performances from Bishop and friends like John Nemeth, Finis Tasby, Kid Andersen, and others.

Other Noted Blues Performers

Other marquee performers featured on the cruise include Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, harp wizard Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, Big Head Todd & the Monsters with the Mile Hi Horns, blues guitarist John Primer, trance-blues originator Otis Taylor, Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King (performing an acoustic set), and Southern Hospitality, featuring JP Soars, Damon Fowler, and Victor Wainwright. The Phantom Blues Band will also be performing material from their new album Inside Out while Taylor will be debuting songs from Contraband, his 2012 release.

Southern Hospitality features three rapidly-rising talents from the roots-n-blues world, including 2009 International Blues Challenge "Best Guitarist" award winner JP Soars (who is also nominated for a Blues Music Award this year), and Blind Pig Recording artist Damon Fowler, whose 2011 album Devil Got His Way certainly turned some heads. Pianist Victor Wainwright earned his share of critical acclaim for his 2011 album Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots, the artist's unique and swinging blues/jazz hybrid earning new fans with every performance.

The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue

Two of the favorite features of The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise are the regular late-night blues jams and the performances by the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue. For this January cruise, revue ringmaster Tommy Castro has put together a solid line-up of talent, including guitarist Kenny Neal, harpist Rod Piazza, and newcomer Samantha Fish, a talented blues guitarist whose 2011 debut album Runaway earned the young musician loads of critical acclaim. Castro will also be performing with his own band the Painkillers. Last year, Alligator Records released the Tommy Castro Presents The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue Live! album, which featured performances taken from the October 2010 cruise.

The sea-going nightly blues jam sessions are typically hosted by the two-time B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award winner Castro. Guest performers on the cruise get together and jam, backed by Castro's band, and these sessions often times extend until early in the morning, leaving both performers and the audience pleasantly exhausted. There are plenty of talented players available for these jams, as well, with other performers confirmed for the cruise including the following:

  • Monkeyjunk
  • Kelley Hunt
  • Rick Holmstrom Band
  • Marquise Knox
  • Ray Bonneville
  • Eden Brent
  • Tasha Taylor
  • The Lee Boys
  • Barrelhouse Chuck
  • Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne

Mark Hummel's Harmonica Blowout

Fans of blues harmonica are going to have a ball on the boat this January, as noted harpist Mark Hummel hosts his "Harmonica Blowout," featuring such luminaries of the instrument as Lazy Lester, Sugar Ray Norcia, and Little Charlie Baty. Another master of the mouth harp, Rod Piazza, will be pulling triple-duty, appearing with his longtime band the Mighty Flyers, hitting the stage with Tommy Castro and the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, and performing as part of the band Reunion, with guitarist Alex Schultz, former Mighty Flyers bassist Bill Stuve, and drummer Jimi Bott, who has put in time behind both Hummel and Piazza, as well as a tenure with the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

For updated information, check the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise website for more details on confirmed performers and ticket availability.

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