The SSBadger is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan and has provided a safe, fun, and reliable shortcut across the huge inland sea for more than fifty years. Lauded as a national treasure, the ferry offers a cruise experience reminiscent of an earlier time when a sea voyage was the ultimate travel and vacation adventure. As the only coal-fired steamship in operation in North America, the S.S. Badger runs on domestic fuel, and the company maintains a unique propulsion system that has been designated as a national mechanical engineering landmark.
The picturesque ferry provides a perfect venue for Cheney who writes cinematic songs packed with images of cars, birds, rain, phones, tattoos, the ace of spades, eyeliner, yachts, trophy brides, strip malls, floods, flowers, banks, and toupees filled with bar smoke. He was one of the first songwriters to be invited to The Construction Zone, a spinoff of the SongFest where songwriters engage in collaborative songwriting. His song Steel Bridge Tender was selected for the Steel Bridge Songs Vol. 1 compact disc and he will be performing his song Twirl at the release performance for Steel Bridge Songs Vol. 2 on Saturday at the Great Lakes Yacht Services boatyard main stage.
“Tragedy and comedy are equally compelling to me, cathartic and explosive in their own way, so I embrace both,” said Cheney. “Solo, I fit squarely in the folk/storyteller tradition, albeit at times a bit revved up. With my band The Dutchmen we add killer three part harmonies and jump. We are ready to bring the SSBadger passengers a preview of the great music that will be created at the SongFest and to extend their memories of that unforgettable music on their ferry ride back home.”