What a trip…
Jacquie and I attended Cayamo the first week of February and are still trying to recover. I estimated that over 6 days we saw 19 full sets and no idea how many partial sets we sat in on. Highlights were John Prine and Jason Isbell, but so many other acts that really impressed. Prine and band were in as good of form as I have seen them and the energy level was superb. Great to see John healthy and kicking it live again. We saw all 4 sets by Jason and the 400 Unit with one set on the pool deck and 3 in the Stardust Theatre. I caught two sets of Amanda with Jason supporting in the much smaller Spinnaker and Jacquie caught the third show of their duo while listened to others on the pool deck that were on my must hear list. The last set of A&J included a brief sit in by Buddy Miller.
We are now huge fans of the Black Lillies who we caught a couple of pool deck shows from. What killer sound and energy they have. John Hiatt was up to his normal high level of performance and nailed a high energy set. Sam Lewis was a wonderful discovery for me. Big fan of his music now and look forward to him putting out more albums. Somehow we missed full or even partial sets by Steve Earle. Watkins Family Hour is superb and Slaid Cleaves was even more fun live than I had expected.
JohnnySwim was probably the most fun we had with a new discovery. Such great charisma between the two of them and it pours out on stage. We had a chance to chat with Amanda before dinner one night and she could not have possibly been kinder or more personable.
Cayamo I have found is very difficult to explain to people. While obviously loaded with top notch musical talent, the surprise to myself and Jacquie was just how approachable and fun the musicians would be on the boat. We had genuine conversations with John Hiatt, Jim Lauderdale, Amanda Sudano, etc. Conversations with Sadler Vaden and a few minutes later with Jason/Amanda Isbell in the surf off Jost Van Dyke while we enjoyed an excursion. I tried to keep a journal daily of the interactions and high points, but was overwhelmed after a couple days.