Beginning in 2012, Buddy Miller set up a recording studio in an unlikely location: the Caribbean Sea. As the annual Cayamo music cruise, which featured Miller, Jim Lauderdale and dozens of their musical friends old and new, sailed from port to port,Miller and Lauderdale recorded episodes of their Buddy & Jim Radio Show on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country channel. During the 2014 Cayamo cruise, with additional gear in tow, he set up a makeshift studio between the lanes of a bowling alley on the vessel, and spent two days and nights capturing those performances, doing the same during the 2015 edition of the cruise.
Earlier this year, the sterling 11-track Cayamo Sessions at Sea album was released, spotlighting shipboard performances from Kris Kristofferson, Kacey Musgraves, Lucinda Williams, Lee Ann Womack, Richard Thompson, Elizabeth Cook, Shawn Colvin and more. On Friday, August 19th, the original Cayamo Sessions at Sea LP will be issued digitally in a deluxe edition, which will make three previously unreleased tracks available for the first time. The added cuts include Miller’s propulsive duet with Steve Earle on a fiddle-fueled cover of the Delmore Brothers’ classic railroad tune “I Let the Freight Train Carry Me On.”
“Does that feel about right?” Miller asks in the song’s intro as the band gets geared up. “Feels like a train to me,” Earle says, with fiddles, harmonica and more kicking in before the pair share vocals on the rambling bluegrass tune. It’s a lively performance that finds the two longtime friends emulating the Delmore’s influential close-harmony style and turns the massive cruise ship into a steam-powered locomotive rolling over open water. Alton and Rabon Delmore’s original version of “I Let the Freight Train Carry Me On” previously appeared on the limited edition of the Grammy-winning Crazy Heart soundtrack in 2010.
Also available as bonus tracks on the deluxe edition of Cayamo Sessions at Sea are the Grateful Dead tune “Black Muddy River,” performed by Teresa Williams and Larry Campbell, and Miller’s tender, heartbreaking version of the country-pop classic “You Don’t Know Me,” penned by Cindy Walker and first popularized by Eddy Arnold.
The 10th edition of Cayamo: A Journey Through Song will cruise to Cozumel, Mexico and Roatan, Honduras, from February 19th through 26th. Emmylou Harris, Rodney Crowell, Patty Griffin, Lee Ann Womack, Aubrie Sellers and Paul Thorn will join Miller, Lauderdale, Musgraves, Earle and many others for the voyage.