Calico Jack Plays HSMC

On Friday, Feb 4. in the State House in Historic St. Mary’s City, the ‘maritime musicians’ Calico Jack performed their collection of music inspired by the traditions and culture of the Chesapeake Bay.

Their music had a folksy, lilting feel to it, conjuring up images of seaport taverns, oyster trawlers, and the relationships between sailors and their crews, their families and their careers.

Calico Jack is comprised of Janie Meneely and Paul DiBlasi; Meneely has been writing songs about the Chesapeake Bay for over 25 years.

Meneely said, “There was very little traditional music [recorded]…so I began writing music about the bay.”

Now, Meneely and DiBlasi are hired to perform all over Maryland. Meneely said, “There has been a real response from hearing about places they love.”

Their set list included “Billy Taylor,” “Shanghai Dredger,” “Ladies of the Bay,” and “Chesapeake Cafe,” a variety of songs about oyster harvesting, sailors, and the decline of the use of sailing vessels.

Audience members enjoyed the uniqueness of the performance. Clark Bryan of St. Inigoes said the performance was “a chance to get out, learn about Chesapeake History…we’ve never been to anything like this.”

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