Salty Dog Songs: The Digital Release!

The best representation of my musical wanderings on the cruise, shown here with my friends, Pauline and Mel, at Rudy’s cabana on the private island. My favorite singer, Frank Turner, was listening from somewhere behind me. I kept my back turned to him, pretended he didn’t exist, and wandered off without acknowledging him for self-preservation reasons. Ah, good times. (Photo by Rudy Martinez)

For those of you who don’t know (you must be new!) a big part of how I gained my confidence and made achievements over the past couple of years was playing the Salty Dog Cruise. The organizers never invited me (pretty sure they have no idea who I am, actually). But in 2016, with little experience under my belt at the time and absolutely no idea what to expect, I came prepared with my guitar and a list of cover songs I knew how to play and cruise theme songs I’d just written (inspired by the 2015 cruise I attended sans guitar). I wandered around the ship and private island offering free songs to anyone who would listen. From the start, it went over extremely well, much better than I expected. People loved the “free songs” thing, especially when it was new.

That weekend is still by far the most gratifying experience I’ve ever had with my music so far. I became the unofficial cabin show opener for Will Varley. Beans on Toast listened to a couple of my songs with my friends in my cabin. I got to sing for a group that included Frank Turner in a friend’s cabana on the Sunday morning. And to top it all off, on that last night, when Frank broke a string and I came to the rescue with my guitar, he let me borrow his audience to sing one of my cruise songs, and then I got to stay up and sing with him! (Pretty much the entire saga is viewable here.) I got to be on top of the world for a weekend and it was absolutely perfect.

When I did the “free songs” thing again in 2017 (and Frank and a lot of his fans were gone), the response definitely wasn’t as overwhelmingly enthusiastic, but I still sang for small groups here and there; made everyone cry with my new song at the welcome party (thanks to Marnie for the invitation); started a pool singalong and two Frank Turner singalongs (complete with Flat Frank) on Kit White’s balcony (one of the best people on the boat – RIP); and this time instead of Frank, it was Beans on Toast who let me borrow his crowd for a song. (You can see all the footage from 2017 here.)

Anyway, this is all just to say how much this cruise has meant to me and how great it’s been for me. In 16 days I’ll be bringing my music to it for the third time and, just like before, I have no idea how it will go! I thought it would be nice to finally release my cruise songs for streaming and (free) download. Of course, I didn’t have a studio budget for this, but I did my best. You can download for free or donation on Bandcamp, or you can stream on YouTube (lyric videos) or Spotify below:



Before you ask your mother what went on
On her cruise to the Bahamas
Just ask us instead
Because your mother will certainly be wrong
This ain’t your mama’s Bahamas cruise

There’s music that makes us want to dance
To be Irish, to take a chance
A cruise for the fucking punks
If you’re not fucking nuts about music then get the fuck out while you can
This ain’t your mama’s Bahamas cruise

Don’t forget to sign up as a marrow donor with Rob
All you have to do is swipe your cheek with a swab
And donations hurt less than tattoos
Real punks care what’s outside their tightknit mob
This ain’t your mama’s Bahamas cruise

Have you looked up everything you can do inside?
It’s more than drunken hot tub shows that made us cry
You’ll never, ever get bored
It’s good it makes a good last supper because I can’t promise you won’t die
This ain’t your mama’s Bahamas cruise

Someone’s probably getting lucky while I sing this but that’s all right
There ain’t no sea that’s ever shone, will ever shine this bright
This ain’t your mama’s Bahamas cruise


What keepsakes do you have from the very best time of your life?
I’ve got countless treasures I can hold to remember mine
Whatever you can think of I have…
T-shirts, buttons, rings and bracelets, magnets
Stickers, bottle openers and lanyards
Different kinds of wearable shamrocks and candy

I’m blinged out to the max with festive crap
Wearing it from head to toe to wrist to waist
Still I think my suitcase handle’s gonna snap
But I don’t care, I’m keeping all I can of this place
This is the swag song, yeah

I’m going home with drawstring bags and condoms and kazoos
Postcards, poker chips, temporary tattoos
Door hangers, shot glasses, picks for my guitar
Hand crocheted things, oh how time consuming they are
Dog tags and beer koozies, soap poured into molds by the very best
And if we’re really lucky, authentic leprechaun vests


Do you remember the second year?
I dragged this beat-up guitar everywhere I went for three days
And the results were so clear
What couldn’t I achieve now that I had found my place?
But everyone knows that the highlight
Was a broken string at a drunken Love Hope Strength show
I got to sing with my favorite singer that night
And I got support from people I didn’t even know
The greatest things that could have happened, happened on this cruise
And I’m bolder for the lesson that dreams really come true

And it’s all because of the boat, it’s all because of the boat

But would I even make the top 10
Of incredible ways that lives have changed on this boat?
Every time we meet I get reminded again
Of people boarding after losses, after losing all hope
The one love spirit heals many scars
And gives us courage to chase the adventures that we need
Whether you’ve found new love or found who you are
Don’t leave it behind, take it with you when you leave
Doesn’t matter if you call us friends or family or a tribe
It’s a bond that can’t be broken and it makes us feel alive

And some of you are close friends and some I may never meet
But I want the best for each of you and I know you want the same for me
So here’s to me, and here’s to you
Here’s to the weekend and here’s to the future
Here’s to another 20 years of love and adventures with you

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