Over two decades ago, Delbert McClinton entertained on cruise ship for two years running. “Midway through the second year, I got to thinking that I could do a better job of it,” McClinton recalled. Hardly anybody was doing it, and we learned a lot the hard way.” Sunday, the ship pushes off for the 20th time. McClinton’s Sandy Beaches Cruise had a couple of rocky years, but that’s a great record if you compare it to, say, a 20-year marriage.
I’m going aboard myself, and look forward to hearing some favorites like Delbert himself, heavy hitters Paul Thorn, Richard Thompson, Marcia Ball, the Mavericks and dozens of other well-known entertainers, but McClinton has committed to bring on quality players who may not be known well outside their area: “Great entertainers that don’t have radio careers,” as he describes them, “people with no smoke, whistles or wardrobe malfunctions—just people that can get up there, plug in and really entertain.” I can attest to the talents of Elizabeth Cook and Seth Walker, who may fall in that heading-toward-headliner category, and am looking forward to discovering new faves among the almost 50 artists who will appear.
We’ll hear more from Delbert and many other artists in Elmore’s upcoming cover story about music cruises. I’m also looking forward to meeting the lucky winner of our Sandy Beaches contest, who won a berth for two. The first rum punch is on us!
– Suzanne Cadgene