BlackJack is a variety band featuring Jimmy Hodge and Melanie Michaels Hodge that has been making a living in the music industry for over 25 years. Their cruise ship career started in 1994 aboard the Cunard owned Queen Elizabeth II. They have had the privilege of playing alongside such greats as Dave Brubeck, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dr. John and Tito Puente.
Jimmy’s career took off when he was asked to be a regular on the Grand Ole Opry. He has toured with Little Jimmy Dickens and Steve Wariner. Jimmy and Melanie have opened for such country artists as Pam Tillis, Marty Stuart, Sawyer Brown, Dolly Parton and Tim McGraw. Jimmy was also chosen to have a role in the movie “Sweet Dreams”, a movie about the life of Patsy Cline, starring Jessica Lange and Ed Harris.
In 1996, Melanie recorded an album and was lucky enough to have her video “The Note” played on Country Music Television. The video provided BlackJack with the opportunity to make several television appearances on Nashville Network shows such as “Crook & Chase” and “Nashville Now”.
Then in 1998, BlackJack decided on a change and went to work for Carnival Cruise Lines. While onboard the Carnival Destiny, they got the chance to play with Mary Wilson of the Supremes. They signed on the Jubilee for its last Alaska and Hawaii run and traveled there and to the Panama Canal, Columbia, Aruba and the West Coast of Mexico. While onboard the Jubilee they performed with John Davidson of “Hollywood Squares” fame and Frank Gorshin. Jimmy’s ability to play jazz and Hawaiian music on the steel guitar as well as the violin along with Melanie’s great range of vocal styles give them the advantage of appealing to all of the senior cruisers onboard as well as the younger crowds onboard all their cruises.
Blackjack will be performing on one of Carnival’s newest ships, the M/S Dream starting December 19th 2009 from Port Canaveral, FL, and Jimmy will be appearing in the “Eight More Seconds” production show with his trusty fiddle! Hope to see you on a cruise soon!