This is a guest post from Daniel Hutchens of Bloodkin, written while cruising on the Simple Man Cruise 2010 last week. The floor is yours Daniel!
January 21, 2010
onboard the cruise ship Inspiration
docked in Tampa FL
Kristy and I just got settled into our cabin here, and the rest of the Bloodkin guys have found their rooms elsewhere…we’re playing the “Lynyrd Skynyrd Simple Man Cruise”, five days onboard, to Cozumel, Mexico, and back…which will mark the first time I’ve ever been to Mexico. Eric and I used to talk about beating it to Mexico and having crazed adventures in the tradition of Kerouac and Burroughs…but those trips never materialized. Also back when I was touring with Moe Tucker, and Sterling Morrison at the time lived in Texas, and he and I were making vague plans that “sometime” I’d come down and visit, and he’d take me into Mexico to see some ancient Mayan ruins…but then Sterling got sick, and so that trip never happened either.
Now, when this cruise docks in Cozumel, they’re offering a ferry to the mainland, and a trip to see some Mayan ruins. Kristy and I are planning to go…better late than never.
January 22, 2010
onboard the Inspiration, en route to Cozumel
This morning we’re just about smack dab in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico; tomorrow morning we’ll be docking in Cozumel. Last night was foggy and wind-whipped––this morning is bright and clear and the sea a shimmering royal blue, and the sky more a pale milky bluewhite…earlier Kristy and I walked to the extreme forward observation deck and watched the nose of the vessel slicing through the waves, extreme wind making us lean to retain balance…
Last night Bloodkin played our first set of the cruise, on the Lido Deck––but no, we didn’t play “Lido Shuffle”, though the thought did cross my mind. It was a fair set to a fair crowd, picking up steam as we rolled along––the first time all six of us (with both Tonks and Martino at the same time) have played together in several months. Cool to get all the spices a-bubbling in the same pot together again––but I look forward to tonight’s latenight set in the Candlelight Lounge; I think last night we tuned up the engine, tonight we’ll rev ‘er up.
January 24, 2010
en route from Cozumel back to Tampa
Just waking up, and just watched the sun rise from the sea out our cabin window…Kristy and I will head up for breakfast in a few minutes.
Last night our whole entourage took in The Outlaws out on the Lido Deck… “Green Grass And High Tides”, “Ghost Riders In The Sky”, and a bunch of songs I’ve never heard, but, man, they were excellent…I’ve certainly never “studied” them before, but they have more of a pop songwriting bent than most of the old-school Southern Rock outfits, mixed in with an absolutely top-shelf dual-lead-guitar attack and precise harmonies…I was duly impressed and have decided to quit Bloodkin and follow The Outlaws around on tour. Well…maybe not.
The only act I’ve seen on the cruise so far who outgunned The Outlaws were Hill Country Revue, who I caught the previous night in the Candlelight Lounge (right before Bloodkin played, which turned out to be fun but sparsely attended; we indeed revved ‘er up a notch, but were sunk by competing performances…ah well)…but Hill Country Revue features Cody Dickinson on guitar, and anything I’ve seen Cody (or Luther Dickinson) involved with, absolutely rocks…no surprise, as Cody and Luther are the sons of the late Jim Dickinson, a monumental rock icon, who was also a brilliant pad-roducer and bad-ass keyboard player, and he also happened to be a personal hero of mine––so I may be a tad bit biased here, but hey, I never claimed I wasn’t––but anyway, the Revue killed it, they were no-nonsense downhome Mississippi boogie n swagger, catch ‘em anytime you have a chance and they’ll damn sure deliver the goods, you have my personal guarantee…they’ll make you feel like you just knocked back a swaller of pristine Mississippi moonsnine, then got kicked in the head by a supernatural muse of a mule.
I haven’t yet caught my old Athens acquaintance Kevn Kinney and the rest of the Drivin n Cryin boys, but I’ve received rave reviews, heard tell they’re in top form and rockin’ harder than ever, which I’m certain is true. Hope to catch them later tonight.
So yesterday Kristy and I ventured onto the island of Cozumel. Our guided tour to the Mayan ruins was canceled “due to not meeting the minimum number of participants”…so we were left to our own devices.
We quickly made our way through the tourist-trap giftshop strip mall built right around the dock, and got out into the streets proper. We talked to a few “guided tour” representatives and before long secured the services of a very helpful taxi driver named Elias. He gave us a personalized tour of the island…we saw beautiful stretches of beach, I mean I was fairly stunned at the raw beauty of undeveloped sand n surf, amazing scenery, and if I can use the term “vibe” or whatever, it got to me, and I really want to return to Cozumel someday and bring the kids along…we saw great “kiddie pool” areas on the beaches, little wading pools naturally barricaded from the surf by rock formations, little Mexican kids happily frolicking in the crystal clear blue water…one such “kiddie pool” was about half a mile from a thatched-roof establishment called “Hotel Ventanas Al Mar”, a ridiculously scenic spot…Elias told us the hotel was used frequently for location shoots for Mexican films; I could see why…I’m fantasizing already about staying there a week or so, a big family vacation…
On a beach called “Punta Sur” Kristy and I came across a huge iguana, sunning himself atop a 6-foot stack of stones, and he was so still and poised and perfect, that at first I thought he was some sort of stone sculpture…but he was real, alive, seemed ancient and mystically wise and the undisputed steward of that shoreline…
Then later we came across a cool, no-frills little beachside bar called “Senor Iguana’s”, so of course we had to check it out. It was one of several joints we saw that struck me as beautiful places to get lost––slow, even timeless little Mexican joints––where the barflies just appear like driftwood, suck down a few ice-cold Sols and just gaze down the shore dreaming, hypnotized by the waves rolling in and out…
We also noticed tiny concrete dollhouse-sized shrines along the road, turned out to be the Mexican equivalent of “crosses by the highway” in America, little memorials to people who have died along that particular stretch of road…and these little shrines are variously painted, inscribed with the name of the departed and facts about their life––I stopped and photographed one such shrine to a man named Hector Arredondo.
So the bottom line is, Cozumel struck me as incredibly scenic and “fun in the sun” gorgeous, but also somehow a bit poetically mystical, even a little sad at moments, but genuine, and possessing some kind of secret I’d someday love to come back and investigate.
But for the time being we’re back on the boat, with one more full day of heavy-duty Southern Rock awaiting us. Do I love Southern Rock? Well, officer…you got me dead to rights. Rock n roll sure did save my life at a pretty young age…and really, to quote Duane Allman, “The term ‘Southern Rock’ is redundant.”
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