I talked in a previous post about my experiences arranging music for the Duck Commander Cruise, RamCorps and Lee Greenwood.

I ‘officially’ met a now dear friend, Mark Brannon, who is the CEO of Memphis Based travel company Premier. Mark is a great guy, and best of all…he’s a trumpet player. (And a good one to boot!). Before that cruise had even set sail, we talked about horns on the K-Love Cruise. Before the cruise ended, we had confirmed that we would be going on the K-Love Cruise as a horn section.

Keith Smith – trumpet (he’s a part of TobyMac’s band)
Myself – trumpet
Kenn Hughes – trombone
Craig Swift – sax
(Charles Walker joined us on sax on the boat)

Mark called us the ‘Double Sea Horns’.
I told you he was a trumpet player. 🙂

The plan was to play sort of by the pool with Bernard Harris and the Jam Band. And then we’d see if any other opportunities came up.

The cruise was in January. I had just found out right before Halloween that we were playing. I ran in to a friend of ours Chad Mattson, the lead singer of Unspoken, walking around the neighborhood (neighbors). I told him we were playing on the cruise and it started a conversation about us playing with them.

Fast Forward to the week before the cruise and Chad calls and says ‘We just finished a new song that has horns on it. You think you guys could play with us on it?’

It’s their new song ‘Higher’ by the way.


Because of the timetable, we never had the opportunity to play through it with them before the show. As a matter of fact, we met that day in the bowling alley restaurant, listened to the recording and just sang through our parts. We didn’t play them. And quite honestly, with these horn players, we didn’t need to. All of the nuances were there when we sang the parts. Everybody knew exactly what to do.

I’ll never forget walking on the stage for the first set with the guys when Ariel (the drummer) says, ‘Ok..we’ve just played through it live for the first time. The road map matches the recording.’

I say, “Ok, then we’re good to go.”

And we were. I can’t say enough good things about Keith, Kenn, Craig and Charles Great musicians. Great guys. And incredibly flexible.
How flexible? That night I met Danny Gokey in line at the pizza buffet. We played for him the next night. That’s another update though.