Think about live music on a cruise and visions of paradise aren't liable to come to mind – unless, of course, cover bands, dancing Baby Boomers and more Tommy Bahama than a Jimmy Buffet concert sounds like an exotic getaway. The annual Cayamo Cruise, however, shows a far more discerning eye with its musical curation, as the country and roots music cruise prepares to set sail on its 11th annual voyage next February with a lineup that includes John Prine, Lee Ann Womack and Brandi Carlile.
Cayamo, run by the Sixthman cruise company that also hosts cruises rock and blues cruises with the likes of Kiss and Kid Rock, has built a surprisingly strong pedigree over the years. Legends like Prine and Kris Kristofferson have appeared in recent years alongside some of today's best and brightest, including Jason Isbell, Chris Stapleton and Maren Morris. It has frequently been friendly to more outlaw-styled country performers, including Kacey Musgraves and Nikki Lane.
The 2018 cruise doesn't boast as many hitmakers of the moment as some recent editions, but the roster is still top-flight, with Prine and fellow songwriting luminary Richard Thompson scheduled, plus Lee Ann Womack, Brandi Carlile and Patty Griffin (who is touring with Womack this July). Also scheduled to play Cayamo sets next year are seasoned vets Paul Thorn, Shawn Mullins and Hayes Carll.
There's plenty of diversity in the lineup too, with rising singer-songwriter John Fullbright (another veteran), roots duo Drew & Ellie Holcomb, rock act Band of Heathens, and blues singer Charley Crockett. In total, there are 24 artists who have been announced, including Aaron Lee Tasjan, Brent Cobb, the Cactus Blossoms, the McCrary Sisters.
Buddy Miller, a Cayamo regular, will also make a return appearance. Last year Miller released Cayamo Sessions at Sea, a collection of covers of songs like "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and Love's Gonna Live Here" that he performed while at sea with other artists booked to play the cruise, including Kristofferson, Musgraves, and Womack.
The weeklong Cayamo Cruise takes place February 4th to 11th, 2018, sailing from New Orleans to Cozumel, Mexico and Harvest Caye, Belize.