Blues Beat – Special Blues Cruise Edition
The Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise
The Airport Hilton
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Saturday, January 21, 2012
By Jenni Tinkhan
In this special Blues Cruise edition, Jenni Tinkham covers the Pre-Cruise Party in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For coverage straight from the Caribbean, check out this week’s Blues Cruise Special Edition of the Ezine, where Dan Harrell updates us on what is going on aboard the Blues Cruise and asks some Cruisers to share their experiences. And don’t miss Joe Rosen’s Blues Cruise Special Edition of the Photo Page. You’ll wish you were there!
The Blues Cruise tribe gathered in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend for the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Pre-Cruise Party, not in a roomful of blues, but in a hotel full of blues! Anywhere you looked, you met the eyes of a fellow blues lover. The South Florida Blues Society hosted the event at the Airport Hilton, booked almost exclusively by blues fans anxiously awaiting launch for this 18th 24/7 floating blues jam.
Perfect Florida weather greeted travelers in the courtyard for Happy Hour with Ben Prestage, one-man band and Blues Music Awards nominee, started the event’s beat with his unique drum kit, diddley bow, harmonica, and various other instruments he plays simultaneously solo. This was a perfect spot to sit and watch people arriving – whether they flew in out of freezing weather, from across the ocean, or drove across the bridge they visibly relaxed passing the large, shaded outdoor twelve-bar arena, complete with refreshments and Prestage’s unique southern Blues and hospitality. Several times during his set he invited the audience to come up and share his favorite spirits between songs.
At 8 p.m. the tribe was groovin’ in the ballroom to Brandon Santini’s harp and “Songs of Love, Money, and Misery,” where he took us through the delta, around the funk, and into some smoky alley with his various styles of blues. He had dancers on the floor and they were primed for the main event of the evening, Southern Hospitality.
What a reception! This band, handmade through mutual chemistry, high energy, and the souls of three already-prominent recording artists, already had created some buzz and crosscut the stage with their unique, or as guitarist Damon Fowler described in a recent interview with Wade Tatangelo (To read that interview click HERE), “Traveling Wilburys’” style. As the members of the band were introduced, pockets of Damon Fowler’s fans, then JP Soars’ fans, and Victor Wainwright’s fans applauded in separate and various parts of the room. Familiar songs from each of the artists and some of the legends were dynamically presented in this newly formed band’s own way. Before the end of the evening, Southern Hospitality united their fans, filled the ballroom to standing or dancing room only, and added Santini’s harp into the mix in an encore jam that’s got the crowd jumpin’.
Bon Voyage to new fans in this energized LRBC sect of the tribe, thanks for an historical evening Southern Hospitality, and Good Blues To Ya, South Florida Blues Society and thanks for a memorable pre-cruise party!
Jenni Tinkham is the Director of Social and Digital Media Support at Blues Revue. This is her first article for our publications and we welcome her and look for more.
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