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Outlaw Country Cruise 2018: See Photos of Lucinda Williams, Rodney Crowell

Elizabeth Cook, Steve Earle, the Mavericks, Shooter Jennings and more raise hell on annual trip

Rodney Crowell, Outlaw Country Cruise

Rodney Crowell was among the artists performing on the Outlaw Country Cruise 2018.

Will Byington

The third annual Outlaw Country Cruise, presented by Sixthman and SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel, set sail last week, bringing a sold-out crowd of 2,500 fans – as well as two dozen headliners, up-and-comers, legends and off-the-wall-ers – on a circular trip between the Port of New Orleans and the Mexican coast.

The lineup was extensive, with artists like Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, the Mavericks, Rodney Crowell, Blackberry Smoke, Shooter Jennings, Elizabeth Cook and Nikki Lane all playing multiple sets aboard the Norwegian Pearl. But the ship offered multiple non-musical attractions too, including an R-rated live reading of an upcoming Squidbillies episode, celebrity poker tournaments, “Outlaw yoga” and a pair of bowling lanes. Country music took center stage throughout most of the voyage, though, with the vacation-worthy setting adding a casual vibe to the bands’ sets. Artists and fans mingled throughout, bumping into one another in the cafeteria one minute and crossing paths outside of the staterooms the next.

“What happens on the Outlaw Cruise stays on the Outlaw Cruise!” Those words were uttered all week long, usually delivered by half-lit seafarers who’d just done something embarrassing ­ but fun. In defiance of that mantra, we’ve rounded up some of the best pictures from the weekend, shining a light on one of the biggest country-music events to never hit land. All photos are by Will Byington.

outlaw country cruise

Will Byington

Bon Voyage

Steve Earle, Elizabeth Cook and Shooter Jennings and others lead the sold-out ship in a special “sail away toast” as the Norwegian Pearl leaves New Orleans. 

Steve Earle, Outlaw Country Cruise

Will Byington

Steve Earle

Steve Earle, whose handful of sets included a full performance of the landmark album Copperhead Road, takes a break in the bowels of the ship. 

Lucinda Williams, Elizabeth Cook

Will Byington

Lucinda Williams and Elizabeth Cook

Lucinda Williams and Elizabeth Cook share a moment backstage before interviewing one another for a special broadcast on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel.

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Will Byington

Ray Wylie Hubbard

Ray Wylie Hubbard goes over his lines before joining the cast of Squidbillies for a live, scripted reading of a new episode. 

Blackberry Smoke

Will Byington

Blackberry Smoke

As rough waves rock the boat, the members of Blackberry Smoke – including frontman Charlie Starr – take a seat for an acoustic performance inside the Stardust Theater. 

Jaime Wyatt

Will Byington

Jaime Wyatt

Jaime Wyatt, a 2017 alumna of our “10 New Country Artists You Need to Know” series, serenades the pool deck with originals, Buck Owens covers and a revamped version of Big Star’s “Thirteen.” 

Lazy Lester

Will Byington

Lazy Lester

Louisiana native Lazy Lester, who kicked off his career alongside blues greats like Lightnin’ Slim, takes a harp solo during the cruise’s Sunday night pre-party.

Chuck Mead

Will Byington

Chuck Mead

Chuck Mead, who kicked off his career in the honky-tonks of Nashville’s Lower Broadway district, pays tribute to one of the town’s most beloved bars – Robert’s Western World – during a late-night set. 

outlaw country cruise

Will Byington

The Petty Brigade

Artists, crew and SiriusXM DJs converge backstage at the Stardust Theater, following a guest-filled tribute to Tom Petty’s catalog. 

Rodney Crowell, Outlaw Country Cruise

Will Byington

Rodney Crowell

Rodney Crowell keeps things loose during his biggest show of the week, tossing a handful of old-school rock & roll songs into the set while welcoming impromptu guests like Jack Ingram to the stage. 

Elizabeth Cook

Will Byington

Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook hits the boat’s outdoor stage with an electrified roots-rock band and a setlist weighted heavily toward 2016’s acclaimed Exodus of Venus

Nikki Lane, Outlaw Country Cruise

Will Byington

Nikki Lane and Jonathan Tyler

Nikki Lane and Jonathan Tyler swap harmonies during one of Lane’s two outdoor sets on the pool deck. 

outlaw country cruise

Will Byington

The Mastersons

The Mastersons, who spent the week playing their own sets while also backing up Steve Earle, pose backstage after the Outlaw Country Cruise’s tribute to Tom Petty. 

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