Swamp Pop Princess

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This post is a shameless plug for a friend. But what the hell, if you can’t abuse your position for a friend, who can you abuse it for?

Shelly and Dave are live-aboard sailors on their beautiful, and beautifully maintained, Apogee 50 Cadence, currently headquartered at Charleston, South Carolina, where we met them the first time we wintered there.

The two of them joined us on Morgan’s Cloud in 2011, arriving at our departure port in Newfoundland at 23:00 and being roused out of their bunks at 03:00 the following morning to depart on the six day passage to Greenland, during which the cockpit temperature never got over 5C.

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And they were cheerful and uncomplaining as well as the sort of shipmates we can leave on watch and still sleep like a baby. A confidence that was confirmed when Dave spotted a completely isolated growler just breaking above the surface of the choppy Labrador Sea that could have sunk us.

But not only are Shelly and Dave extremely competent mariners, they are also very talented musicians. Or at least Shelly is. As Dave says “What do you call the dorky guy that hangs around a band?…drummer”.  Actually, Dave, puts people to sleep for a living. No that’s not a crack about his drumming, he’s an anaesthesiologist.

Shelly has just released a CD. You knew there was a point coming eventually…right? Now I’m not going to try and do a review of Shelly’s music because that would be about as sensible as Stevie Wonder writing a review of an offshore sailboat.

But what I can say is that I have listened to Shelly’s CD right through, twice, and really enjoyed it. What kind of music is it, you ask. Well, Shelly is from Louisiana and sings Swamp Pop. If you are anything like me, the next question is, what’s Swamp Pop? Here’s Shelly’s definition off the CD cover:

It’s country, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and Cajun. It’s the sound of Louisiana. It’s my heritage, it’s my soul.

Even if you think that this might not be your kind of music, you owe it to yourself to buy this album. Why? Because Shelly is really, really good. How can I be so sure, since I, as I admitted above, am not even remotely qualified to judge? Let me tell you a story.

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Shelly, Dave and friends were listening to a blues band led by a guy named Gary Erwin, alias Shrimp City Slim—that’s him on the keyboards. Gary has been making music professionally for 25 years and has shared a stage with some of the greats. To put it bluntly, Gary only plays with the best, as one listen to his band will tell you.

At the end of the show, Gary asked if anyone would like to sing with the band, clearly not expecting much. Dave and her friends egged Shelly on, and so she went up front. I wasn’t there, but the way I hear it told, the expression on the band’s faces when Shelly sang was comical. They were stunned and blown away by how good she is.

How stunned, how blown away? Well, Gary insisted that Shelly start performing with them. But it did not stop there, he also wrote all but two of the songs on the album, just for her, and produced the album. It’s all original music, no covers. Of the remaining two tracks, Shelly wrote one and Gary and Shelly collaborated on the other.

cdYou can buy Swamp Pop Princess at cdbaby, Amazon.com and Itunes. And you can learn more about Shelly and her music, as well as listen to some of her album for free, at her web site.

Photographs

The photographs reflect my new-found fascination with black and white and the cool things you can do with Silver Efex Pro. Not to worry, I’ll get over it.

Disclosure

Shelly sent us a CD for free, thanks Shelly. I know it seems silly to even mention this, but a policy is a policy.

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John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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