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Columns > Annabel Lukins - Both Sides of the Rail

Published: 2013/03/07
by Annbael Lukins

There’s Nothing Like Jam Cruise

When I called Al Schnier this past fall to do a 45-minute solo set on a smaller stage, he was delighted! Once he came on board, we were all hanging in the Jam Room at 3am and he asked if the entire band could come play, he said it didn’t seem right otherwise. “OF COURSE,” I said. “An unannounced acoustic moe. set? YES SIR!” The fans went nuts and it was simply wonderful!

One of the greatest and kindest beings I’ve ever met. And with a SOULFUL voice to boot, Jans Ingber.

Ok even though I call Nigel Hall my little brother, Jeremy is too. We’re both vibrant tribe members and we both clearly love purple! But in all seriousness, Jeremy and Dom are CRUSHING the scene with Big Gigantic. The timing of their career hit at the perfect time. It took them a few years to hit but then all of a sudden, they are selling out Red Rocks! I am beyond proud of them.

MarchFourth Marching Band is hands down the coolest group of artists I’ve seen in years. 24 of them came on board and blew everyone away. It’s like a musical circus and they are some of the most vibrant people ever. I was seriously moved to tears by their performances. Here, my new friend Mary, showed us her best feature in the crowd during their show.

JJ Grey…not only a man with incredible talent, but massive integrity. Here’s what happened. The day of embarkation, JJ wasn’t feeling well and as a result, he questioned if he could even make it on board. I got on the phone with him and tried to help him get “grounded.” He said it worked because he showed up feeling much better. But then he played his first show and went downhill. The next day, he had an atrium set scheduled and we decided it had to be cancelled, as we didn’t want to compromise his other main performance. However, he really was looking forward to performing solo and his fans, albeit understanding, were very disappointed. JJ was determined to not let them down. At the last minute, he confirmed and word spread FAST. The atrium was PACKED and JJ, with TEARS in his eyes, gave his loyal fans something extra special. This hug was very real. I had more pride in him and respect for him than ever. Thanks JJ!!!

Breakestra made their debut this year and proved themselves Jam Cruise worthy 10 times over. This band just doesn’t get enough credit. They are completely fabulous and one of the strongest aspects of the band is this lovely lady, Aphrodite. Her voice is BEYOND tremendous and I fully enjoyed sharing my candy stash with her.

Ben Ellman is another one of those real friends I have made through Jam Cruise. I’ve been a Galactic fan for forever but sharing the past 10 years getting to know Ben has enriched my life fully.

Who wouldn’t want a photo with the great Corey Glover? Living Colour’s front man has surely brought a delightful new light to Galactic’s live performance.

Not only were these two having a major bromance on board, but their love affair has lasted for many many years. And my adoration for both of them is beyond words.

Tonight’s theme was Spinal Tap and I’ve gotta give it to Bobby Mac for the fitting wig. A for effort!

Lucky me landing a photo with 3 ridiculous sax players!!!!

Kraz is like my brother from another mother. Seriously. And I seem to rant and rave annually about my friendships with these amazing musicians, but they get deeper each year. And my respect for his talent as an artist also gets deeper. We come up with a way for him to come on board every year because it just wouldn’t be the same without him.

I feel the same way about Deitch. For all of you who don’t know these musicians personally, they are the most approachable loving guys imaginable!

Ok so we are at the end of this long column. I hope I haven’t been boring you. I just try to show you my true passion…music, Jam Cruise and these special artists. As you already know, Nigel is a close friend. I have worked hard to give these artists the chance to let loose in the Jam Room. And at 4am the last night of the cruise, I loved every moment of what was happening on stage. But I’ve ALWAYS watched from the sidelines. The Jam Room is THEIR venue, not even mine to emcee. But Nigel kept calling me up. “No, no, no,” I kept saying. But he INSISTED. I was even a little nervous. I have NEVER been on the Jam Room stage. And now he wants me to sit in!!! OK, deep breathe, just go for it, Annabel. Who knew that I could sing “God Made Me Funky!” It was exhilarating and I was deeply humbled by the offer. And how COOL that a great photographer captured the unique moment! Jam Cruise HIGHLIGHT for sure!!!

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