Sandy Beaches Cruise

By Ken Paulson

We had the opportunity again this year to travel on Delbert McClinton’s Sandy Beaches 2017 Cruise, a weeklong music festival at sea that featured the Mavericks, Marcia Ball, Teresa James, World Famous Headliners and many more country, blues and Americana artists. We worked our way around the ship, talking to a wide array of talented artists about the cruise and the music they make. Among the best conversations:

Delbert McClinton was just about to release “Prick of the Litter,” his 19th album, and a release he’s clearly proud of:

Lari White, literally a star of stage, screen and recordings, has a new double-EP out called Old Friends, New Loves. We had the chance to talk with her about her new release.

The Band of Heathens recently topped the Americana Music Chart with Duende, their fifth album.
We had the opportunity to visit with the band’s Ed Jurdi:

Teresa James is the sparkplug of the cruise, always playing on opening night and getting the crowd dancing. Her latest album is “Bonafide”:

On the flight to Tampa just before the Sandy Beaches 2017 cruise, we found ourselves sitting next to Al Anderson of the World Famous Headliners and NRBQ. We had a great conversation, which we picked up again on board and on camera.

Songwriter Sharon Vaughn may be best known for writing “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys,” but her success spans decades. We spoke to her about her remarkable career:

Danny Flowers is a good friend from Nashville, who we’re privileged to see in performance a half-dozen times a year. We spoke with him about his big hit “Tulsa Time” and his approach to songwriting.

Doyle and Debbie” is a musical chronicling the hoped-for “comeback” of a country artist and the talented down-on-her-luck young woman who he hopes will make that possible. (And that sentence doesn’t begin to convey just how brilliant, engaging and hilarious this show is.)  We spoke with Bruce Arnston and Jenny Littleton about the origins of the inimitable Doyle and Debbie:

Sometimes it seems like Spooner Oldham has played on half the records in our collection. The good ones, anyway. We talked to this pivotal player and songwriter behind the Muscle Shoals sound.

And just for good measure, here’s a photo album from the 2017 Sandy Beaches Cruise: