It has been almost a week since our return from Cayamo 2015 (the eighth edition of the Americana music cruise, hosted by Sixthman, and the fifth one my wife and I got to attend). So many musical highlights there is no chance I can list them all. But for me, the nicest moment was getting on an elevator only to find Buddy Miller on it, and getting to say “Thank you” to him for all the great music. The genius musician and producer is so modest he actually thanked me in return. Rather than trying to summarize the musical experience with any more words, I am going to merely opt for a sampling of social media photos from Cayamo 2015.
When I can make it, once a year I try to make the Sixthman Cayamo cruise. This year it was a seven-day musical cruise with a lineup that cannot be easily summarized (but can be found here). It just wrapped yesterday–and in the next couple of days I hope to post videos of past performances from some of the talent that caught my attention this year.
First up is Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams–and a video from Cayamo 2013. Judging by this video, I am supremely bummed that I missed last year. Glad I caught it this year. Williams’ voice is a powerhouse that could fuel the cruise ship all by herself.
What keeps me coming back to Cayamo is the opportunity to discover different musicians. This past year, one of the new musicians I discovered was Ellis Paul. Part of Paul’s band was an incredible piano and accordion player Radoslav Lorkovic. Over the next several days of the cruise, Lorkovic also turned up jamming with several other musicians. I meant to conduct this interview immediately after the cruise, but life events delayed my intentions. I was glad to finally conduct the email interview this week. Be sure to visit Lorkovic’s Facebook page, as he is indeed an impressive photographer (as we discuss) in addition to his musical prowess. This interview includes a new Talking with Tim milestone, a musician quoting NFL legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
Tim O’Shea: You are currently touring with Ellis Paul, what attracted you to working with Ellis?
Radoslav Lorkovic: Ellis has been a great friend through the years. Music is just a natural part of what is really a great ‘hang’ Being on stage is little different than having a drink at three AM in some ridiculous club laughing. The music, however, is quite serious and precise. It is presented without out the baggage of seriousness. He also plays everything in C sharp–for me the most difficult piano key. It’s a massive exercise in a way.
This interview with the musical father and daughter team of Scott & Amanda Anderson is the first of many to originate from Cayamo 2011. Scott was part of Keith Sewell’s band–and after the band’s first night playing on the ship I was fortunate enough to meet both musicians. Unfortunately, while I got to see Scott perform multiple times, I was never around for any of Amanda’s appearances in jam sessions and when she played elsewhere on the boat. As detailed at the website: “After years of playing together, Amanda and her dad Scott Anderson began performing together in 2008. Amanda handles most of the lead vocals and supplies sweet fiddle lines. Swampgrass master Scott Anderson adds harmony and lead vocals as well as guitar and banjo. Their repertoire includes Americana and bluegrass songs from Nickel Creek, Andrea Zonn, Alison Krauss, The Dixie Chicks, and many others. Their dazzling fiddle and banjo duets are favorites at every show. Amanda and Scott also perform together in The Scott Anderson Band and occasionally with The Bluegrass Parlor Band.” Scott recently released his solo album (which features Amanda on many of the cuts), Tales from the Swamp. We also discuss their 2009 album, Another Day. My thanks to Scott and Amanda for taking so much time to answer my questions.
Tim O’Shea: First question, for both of you, what was Cayamo 2011 like for you, as performers and audience members? And Scott, how did you come to be part of Keith Sewell‘s band for Cayamo?
Scott Anderson: We had a blast on Cayamo! The whole thing is really well done, from the artists selected, the way the shows are scheduled and set up, the way they treat the artists, and of course the boat and the trip itself. And the great thing for me was that even when I wasn’t playing a show, there was something fun to do with some many great acts putting on shows all the time. It was also a thrill for me to get to meet and talk with Colin Hay. I’ve been a big fan of his from his days with Men at Work all the way up to all of his great solo stuff that he’s doing now. It’s always good when you meet someone like that and he turns out to be a good guy.
Amanda Anderson: The whole trip was wonderful. I had a great time just hopping from show to show, there was always something new to listen to. I also had a chance to talk to and hear some of the musicians that I’ve been a fan of for years, which was such a treat. And you sure can’t beat those beaches!
Man, I am behind on doing my write-up about Cayamo 2011 (which ended less than a month ago)–and I realized how behind I was when I received the first notice today about planning for Cayamo 2012. No, I am not kidding. Part of my challenge is just trying to summarize the experience effectively. When you attend around 50 concerts in one week (out of the 120 concerts and jam sessions that occurred) you have a lot to describe. And my description cannot do it justice. So before embarking on my attempt, I will first suggest that you check out PASTE’s 10 Unforgettable Moments from Cayamo 2011 and Kim Ruehl’s recollections at No Depression as they are likely to be more insightful (I did take solace in Ruehl’s observation “Considering there are more than 125 shows scheduled for the week you’re on the music cruise, picking a Top 3 can be tough.”).
I have wanted to interview urban folk/pop singer/songwriter Edie Carey since seeing her in concert at Cayamo this past February. She’s got a new album set for release by late October 2010, called Bring The Sea. In preparation for its release (and thanks to Carey for her time [as well as Concerts in Your Home founder Fran Snyder for putting me in contact with Carey]) we discussed her music in this brief email interview.
Tim O’Shea: When a singer/songwriter goes to a country like Tanzania for two weeks on vacation as you recently did, do you typically get inspired to write a song or two. Or when you take a vacation do you decide to give your songwriting part of your brain a break as well?
Edie Carey: I definitely relished the opportunity to get on a plane without my guitar in tow for once. I love my job, but it can make me a bit single-minded sometimes. It’s good to remember the things that I loved to do before I ever started doing this….camping, exploring other countries, learning about history, architecture, science….It was a great mental break after finishing the new album.
If I was not already blessed with a great full-time job and a spectacular boss, I imagine Sixthman founder Andy Levine would be my ideal kind of boss. In 2001, Levine established the Atlanta-based self-described “affinity travel company … that creates unique experiences by bringing together like-minded people in exclusive, interactive and intimate environments … Sixthman currently delivers experiences aboard cruise ships for more than 30,000 fans of artists such as John Mayer, Barenaked Ladies, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jillian Michaels, and Sister Hazel”. I first became aware of Sixthman in 2009, when my wife and I signed on for Cayamo 2010, the journey of song, which I blogged about here, here and here. Coming out of the cruise, with some invaluable assistance from Sixthman’s Becki Carr, I was able to question Levine about Sixthman. My thanks also to Levine for his time and thoughts. And lest you need convincing how much I like Sixthman and Cayamo in particular, my wife and I have already committed to our cabin for Cayamo Cruise 2011.
Tim O’Shea: Cayamo 2010 was a different experience for you, in one way, as you were on vacation with your family, rather than running the event. How odd and/or refreshing did that feel to experience in that way?
Andy Levine: It was an extremely vulnerable yet liberating moment, because I was scared that I was not needed anymore. Then I was also really proud to see everyone step up and do such a great job–not that they don’t always step up. But for me, the best part was that I got to be a guest and I got to feel a little bit about what I think our guests feel–which is that: “When it’s working, it’s working. It’s right.” I got to experience that and it was awesome.
The way I discovered Tori Sparks‘ music was a fortunate fluke. One late night/early morning on the Cayamo cruise, after most of the music had ended for the evening–I went looking for where any jam sessions might have been happening. And that’s when I discovered Sparks performing an impromptu show in the ship’s library. I so enjoyed her witty storytelling and performance skills, I decided to get an email interview with her. We got to discuss last year’s release, as detailed here: “Tori’s third album, The Scorpion in the Story, was co-produced with indie rock veteran David Henry (R.E.M., Ben Folds, Josh Rouse, Widespread Panic, Cowboy Junkies) , and features players such as Steve Bowman (Counting Crows), Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell), Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett, Mindy Smith, Allison Krauss), Fats Kaplin (Mark Knopfler, Kevin Welch), and Barry Walsh (Gretchen Peters) … The Scorpion in the Story is a tale in thirteen chapters, a tour diary in the form of a concept album . Each song was written about one of the many colorful individuals Tori met while touring across the U.S. last year. The album includes a French version of the song ‘Merry Go-Round,’ (‘Le Manege’), and was released on Glass Mountain Records in June 2009.” As evidenced by some of our discourse, in addition to her musical talents, she’s also quite effective in terms of marketing. My thanks to Sparks for her time.
Tim O’Shea: How did the duet with Shawn Mullins on Letter to a Wretch #2 come about–what is it about Mullins’ voice (and how it interacts/plays off/compliments yours) that motivated you to want to duet with him?
Tori Sparks: I contacted Shawn and asked him if he’d be willing to sing on the song, and was very happy when he said yes. He’s a very gracious guy, and extremely supportive of independent music too – he worked on his own for about ten years before ever signing a record deal, so he knows what it’s like to have to be out there working for it. I’ve always loved the range and the timbre of his voice, and of course his songs as well. Both always ring true to my ears. He sings and writes from the heart.
In my run-up to next week’s Cayamo 2010 cruise, I am trying to focus on certain new artists I am just learning about prior to the cruise. Today I am focusing upon Edie Carey. Go to her site, listen to her music.
Given how much of a Shawn Colvin fan that I am, I’m shocked I’ve not run across Carey before. I’ve never heard anyone sound so much like Colvin–and as you can guess that’s a compliment, not an insult. She has her own distinctive songwriting style, however, and I look forward to seeing her perform live next week.
This time next week, I will be on vacation, on a cruise–for the first time in my life. I’m not really drawn to cruises honestly. One thing might get me to board a boat. Well two things, my lovely wife being the main reason. The second reason is if that boat was loaded with damn good musicians.
Well the Cayamo 2010 cruise is going to feature an amazing collection of musicians, including Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Brandi Carlile, Buddy Miller (with wife and fellow musician Julie Miller), John Hiatt, Darrell Scott, Shawn Mullins, Vienna Teng and Katie Herzig, as well as Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen (solo), Allison Moorer, Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers and Rachael Yamagata.
I had not heard of Buddy Miller until recently, when I saw Miller play with Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin and Patty Griffin on PBS’ Soundstage. Soon after that, a friend heard I was going on the cruise and he insisted I made sure to go see the Buddy and Julie Miller play together. They’ve been knocking around music circles for a number of years–since the early 1990s at the very least. Buddy Miller is also known as a producer. Be sure to go the musicians’ website as you can get a good listen to their music there, as well as an idea of all the people they have worked with over the years.