Blues Paradise: Keeping The Blues Alive at Sea | Special Feature

Published 7 months ago on January 2, 2024

By Jonathan Graham

Blues Paradise: Keeping The Blues Alive at Sea | Special Feature

Sponsored By Ciari Guitars





Blues guitar heavyweight Joe Bonamassa and Sixthman have really been pushing the boat out in relation to festivals and live music-themed cruises for more than a decade now. This year was no exception with the third European voyage of Bonamassa's world-famous floating blues-rock party at sea: Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea Mediterranean III. The Guitar Interactive team was onboard to take in the sights and sounds of this year's event, with exclusive interviews with guitar greats Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Josh Smith, Charlie Starr, Chris Buck, Eddie 9V, Laura Cox and more.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd 

Cruise ships are often associated with sun-soaked vacations, extravagant buffets, and relaxation

by the pool. But imagine combining all of this with some of the finest blues musicians in the field performing almost round the clock. This is precisely what the Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea Mediterranean III event offered in a unique and unforgettable experience. Blues enthusiasts from around the world embarked on this musical voyage, sailing through the Mediterranean while indulging in the best the genre has to offer.





Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke) 

This five-night music festival on the ocean featured two unique sets from Bonamassa along with dozens of electrifying live performances and once-in-a-lifetime collaborations by a spectacular line-up of hand-picked special guests that include Blackberry Smoke, Christone "Kingfish" Ingram, Jimmy Vivino, Josh Smith, as well as a diverse range of artsits who blend traditional delta blues with contemporary interpretations: Ruthie Fletcher, King King, Vanessa Collier, Cardinal Black, Bywater Call, Johnny A, Eddie 9V, Dom Martin, The Cinelli Brothers, True Strays, Alice Armstrong and more.

Josh Smith 

With not only solo shows to enjoy, one of the highlights of this event was the remarkable all-star blues jams that featured renowned blues legends like Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Josh Smith trading licks with Joe Bonamassa, as well as Chris Buck providing a stellar performance with the impressive Dom Martin.

Chris Buck 

Between the non-stop music and onboard events — the Norwegian Jade docked at stunning ports in two of the most breathtaking cities in the world — Dubrovnik, Croatia, a medieval city adorned with cobblestone lanes that lead to world-class restaurants with delicious cuisine, and Santorini, Greece, known for its iconic whitewashed architecture, steep cliffs, and stunning sea views.

Eddie 9V

Not solely about entertainment, Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea Mediterranean III once again benefited the Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation (KTBA), The foundation, founded by Joe Bonamassa in 2011, is committed to equipping students and educators with the resources and tools necessary to advance music education. The non-profit's primary mission is to ignite a passion for music by financing programs and scholarships for students and teachers who have the desire but lack the means or access to fulfill their potential in music education. Thanks to the generous support of corporate sponsors such as Ernie Ball Strings, Guitar Center, J&R Adventures, as well as individual donors, KTBA has been able to offer ongoing contributions to music classrooms and merit-based scholarships all across the United States, impacting more than 70,000 students in all 50 states through the funding of over 450 unique projects.

Laura Cox 

In 2020, KTBA took its mission a step further by introducing the Fueling Musicians Program, an emergency relief initiative designed to assist touring musicians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program provides financial aid for essential living expenses and has offered immediate cash payments of $1,500 to over 300 struggling musicians. KTBA has plans to establish the Fueling Musicians Program as a permanent feature of the organization to help musicians get back on their feet and back on the road.





Dom Martin 

For more information, please visit keepingthebluesalive.org.

Hosted and curated as always by the Blues Titan himself Joe Bonamassa, Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea Mediterranean IX — sailing March 18-22, 2024, from Miami, Florida to Cozumel, Mexico aboard the luxurious Norwegian Pearl — will feature four days and nights of onboard live performances and unforgettable collaborations by such blues-rock icons as Joe Bonamassa, Grace Potter, Black Country Communion, Marshall Tucker Band, John Oates, King King, Jimmy Vivino, Jackie Venson, Brandon "Taz" Niederauer, Daddy Long Legs, Jack Barksdale, with many more to be announced. The reunion of Joe Bonamassa with his supergroup Black Country Communion (Glenn Hughes, Jason Bonham and Derek Sherinian) comes after a 7-year hiatus as a special treat for the fans upon recent speculation of a new album in the works.

Bywater Call

The spectacular Norwegian Jade will provide everything needed to make Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea Mediterranean IX is set to be the most extraordinary cruise vacation yet, with fully stocked bars at (almost) every corner, tasty dining options, the Pool Deck (with multiple hot tubs), the Jade Club Casino, Mandara Spa, Body Waves Fitness Center, Sports Court, and much more.





When Rivers Meet

Sign up at www.bluesaliveatseaeurope.com for ticket information and to be the first to know when new artists and activities are announced.




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