Looking back to the first Cayamo Pt 2

The first Cayamo in 2008 was simply the greatest experience. These five songs are a special memory of that journey for the Ironbath.


The Bowmans – Make It Last


The Bowmans – a twin sister duo – got on the boat by winning a competition in Paste. They were announced just a couple of weeks before the cruise and as soon as I first heard this track I knew they were special. I posted a link on the Cayamo Forum which soon generated a lot of interest, and Claire Bowman joined in the discussion as well.

Their sumptuous harmonies made them extremely popular so much so that they were given 2 extra shows on board. ‘Make it last’ is a perfect Cayamo song – not only is it about the memory of a great vacation it also has the line: “There’s nothing out here for me/ in the middle of February“.

The fact that The Bowmans have not been invited back to Cayamo in their own right is probably the greatest injustice in Cayamo’s history.


Meghan Coffee – Not Easy To Love


Meghan’s distinctive vocal was a highlight of Cayamo, but it was this song that struck a chord with the Ironbath. It is one of those songs that builds and develops. Even now it stops the Ironbath in his tracks.

On board, I sat down with Meghan and she spent 45 minutes telling me the story behind this song – It is a deeply powerful, sad and personal story. On her final performance in the Atrium she dedicated the song to me.

The version in the video above was recorded (in the dark!) at a house concert in Seattle, where it was also dedicated to me – even though I wasn’t there. It is part of the incredible power of Cayamo that a singer from Atlanta can end up playing a song on the edge of the Pacific, for someone on the other side of the Atlantic, that they met in the middle of the Caribbean.


Shawn Mullins – Twin Rocks


The Ironbath knew Shawn Mullins because of ‘Lullaby’ and had a copy of ‘Souls Core’ from 1998 but had no knowledge of what he had done in the last 10 years. The Ironbath recalls playing the CD just before the first Cayamo remembering how great Shawn is. It was the spoken ballad, ‘Twin Rocks’ that cast such a vivid image of America in his mind.

Shawn performed a set in the Caribbean Lounge (the main theatre) late one evening, and the Ironbath was crossing his fingers that he’d play it, and he did, and it sounded wonderful as his deep bass vocal filled the theatre. He  also played a packed out show in the Adriatic Lounge on the last night, which was a spectacular show – especially when the curtain behind him was pulled open revealing his band and guest collaborators.

4 years on, and Shawn Mullins has moved on from being the guy who sang ‘Lullaby’ to being the guy I go on vacation with each year!


Ryan Bingham – Southside Of Heaven


The Ironbath didn’t know anything about Ryan Bingham before Cayamo. He was only sat in the infamous Red & Black lounge that evening because he’d been there for the Meghan Coffee show that preceded. This guy in a cowboy hat showed up and didn’t say anything. He looked at the band and they started playing. Then something incredible happened.

As Ryan started to sing the audience caught their breath and held it for the entire show. It was magical. It was the most delicately crafted country-americana sound. There was no chat, no jokes, and no audience participation. Ryan just stood there and gave us the most electric performance. His rasping voice and intricate picking was spellbinding.


Brandi Carlile – Turpentine


The Ironbath had never heard of Brandi Carlile, and she was a headliner. Actually she was upgraded to headliner status just before the cruise since she’d attracted a significant fan base and was considered to be ‘the next big thing’.

However it wasn’t the main shows that year which impressed the Ironbath but the impromptu performances where Brandi took over a piano that was beside a walkway late at night. She’d turn up as people were going to bed and play an acoustic set, and her performance of ‘Turpentine’, ‘Wasted’ and of course ‘hallelujah’ sung without mics & amps, with 100 people singing along were unforgettable Caya-moments.


About Ironbath

The Ironbath is a passionate music lover.
This entry was posted in Brandi Carlile, Cayamo, Meghan Coffee, Ryan Bingham, Shawn Mullins, The Bowmans. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Looking back to the first Cayamo Pt 2

  1. Pingback: Meghan Arias – The blurry junction between music, poetry & love | Ironbath

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