Today I don’t have a new song for you, I have a new album. I have never been a huge Sheryl Crow fan. I never really cared for any of her 90s pop rock that was so, well popular. The closest I came to actually really liking one of her songs was “Strong Enough”, but decades of overhearing it has sort of soured me on it too. I’ve marginally liked some of her country music that she’s been doing in the last decade somewhat better, but it’s still been nothing that I’ve ever gone out of my way to listen to and since you can be sure country music radio wasn’t playing any of it I didn’t have much occasion to hear it.
Today, Sheryl Crow’s final album Threads is out and it’s as if she purposefully created it just for me to make sure I wanted to listen to at least one of her albums before she quit making them. To be clear she’s not quitting music. She just said this is her final album because people don’t listen to albums anymore. She’s just going to keep writing music and putting it out when it’s done instead of waiting to compile it for an album.
Threads is 17 songs in which she collaborates with other artists, and it’s like she said who are all of Danielle’s favorite artists. Let me do a song with them. Seriously just look at this (incomplete) list: Jason Isbell, Brandi Carlile, Mavis Staples, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Nicks, Lucius, Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Maren Morris, Chris Stapleton. So congratulations Sheryl Crow you finally got me.
I’m trying to get a little bit better about posting non-music stuff around here. Let’s face it, it’s probably still going to be like 90% music related content, but since no one who reads this blog cares that much I’m trying to mix it up every once in awhile. I used to try and write about stuff that makes me happy no matter how small. With summer starting to wind down (not that you’d know it based on this heat wave), I thought I would share a couple of my favorite summer clothing items.
I few years ago Target started making these tank tops. They were originally under one of the house clothing brands that Target retired. When I saw that they were getting rid of that brand I was super sad because I thought it meant these tank tops were going away, but they just started making them under the A New Day brand (which whenever I see the tags I always think says And Away). I own this tank top in approximately one million colors. Since white tanks get dirty so easy and the tanks are so cheap, when I need something to fill out an online Target order to get the free shipping I will toss one in my cart.
The other thing I absolutely love are these Abeo Kadie flip flips from The Walking Company. I posted here once before about a pair of flip flips that I loved, but bit the dust because they were so old and I wore them so much. Those flip flips having nothing on these. It took me literally years and so many wasted flip flop purchases to finally find a pair that I really loved and I felt like I could wear without tearing my feet apart. These are great. They are super comfortable. They have great arch support and most importantly the straps don’t rub at all. From the very first second I put them on I could wear them with no issues. I’ve owned far too many flip flips that I just hoped the straps would eventually soften up or my feet would get used to. Not so with these. I can wear them for long periods of time with no problems. They have never cut my feet or caused blisters. They are just plain comfortable. They are definitely more money than I ever wanted to pay for a pair of flip flops, but they’re really worth every penny. I wish that I had managed to snag another pair on summer clearance as backup before they sold out of my size. Now I just have to hope they bring them back again next summer.
“Love is Everywhere (Beware)” is the first single off of Wilco’s forthcoming album Ode to Joy, which is due out October 4. I’ll let Jeff Tweedy tell you what the song he wrote is about since he obviously knows better than I.
There MUST be more love than hate. Right?! I’m not always positive we can be so sure. In any case, I’m starting to feel like being confident in that equation isn’t always the best motivation for me to be my best self—it can kind of let me off the hook a little bit when I think I should be striving to contribute more love outside of my comfortable sphere of family and friends.
So… I guess the song is sort of a warning to myself that YES, Love IS EVERYWHERE, but also BEWARE! I can’t let that feeling absolve me of my duty to create more.
I will just tell you that I think it’s a lovely song. I adore the lilting guitar rhythm in it and the sort of ethereal feeling it creates. I for sure added the song to my chill summer playlist because the music is perfect for it. Any song that makes me imagine being in a field on a warm summer day (among other things) automatically goes on that playlist, and this song does.
There isn’t an actual video for the song yet. It’s just an animated graphic of the logo for their record label dBpm Records and I can’t deal with it because the movement of the metronome graphic does not match the tempo of the song and it’s driving me batty. So you know just listen to the song and don’t look at it.
It’s been awhile since I recommended a new podcast around these parts. I actually meant to write about The Original Cast way back in the spring, but I never got around to it and then I forgot until this week. I listen to lots of podcasts having to do with the things that bring me joy like pop culture in general and music, but for some reason until earlier this year I never listened to any podcasts about theatre. Since it is also one of my great loves I don’t know why it never occurred to me to look into any.
The Original Cast is a podcast in which the host and guest talk about an original Broadway cast recording of the guest’s choosing. The podcast is hosted by Patrick Flynn who is a playwright and a professor in the School of Communication at American University. His guests are generally people who work in theatre in some way. My friend Heather, who is a costume designer, was a guest on the show back in the spring talking about the cast album for the most recent Broadway revival of She Loves Me starring Laura Benanti and Zachary Levi. We actually went up to New York together to see the show, so of course I had to listen to her podcast episode when she told me about it. And that’s how I found out about The Original Cast and started listening to it.
There were years worth of back episodes, so I’ve been slowly making my way through some of those on the shows I care about as well as listening to the new episodes. In addition to the full-length episodes that are put out every other week, on the off weeks he posts mini-episodes he calls Intermission. Sometimes they are little episodes he records by himself on a specific topic, but in general they are pieces of conversations from the full episodes that he edited out when they veer significantly off topic for a lengthy period of time. He then releases those conversations as mini-episodes at a later date. That’s what reminded me that I wanted to write this post because this week’s Intermission episode was part of the conversation he had with Heather on design that was cut from the original episode.
Although I don’t doubt that there are many excellent theatre and Broadway podcasts out there, this is the only one I’ve listened to. I already can’t keep up with all the podcasts I have in my feed, so I don’t generally go out hunting for new ones. Sometimes they just fall in my lap though like this one. As such I can’t actually compare it to any other podcast on the topic, but one thing that I like about this particular theatre podcast is that it’s created by someone who doesn’t live in New York and get to see Broadway theatre all the time. Many of his guests work work on Broadway, but as someone who lives in DC, Patrick Flynn is coming at it as someone who like most of us is lucky if they get to see one or two shows a year, but generally is either falling in love with a show through the cast album or maybe a touring production. I appreciate that perspective. If you enjoy the theatre like I do, I definitely recommend taking a listen.
I swear that I will eventually stop making every New Music Friday post about The Highwomen. I mean eventually I’ll run out of new music by them. There were a couple of other new songs I heard this week by Michael Kiwanuka and Brittany Howard, but neither of them really grabbed me. So I’m going with “Highwoman” by The Highwomen because I love it. I wrote about it in my post from last week saying it was my favorite song off the album, but didn’t link to it because although there were some cell phone recordings of it from the Newport Folk Festival there was nothing official yet. They released the official audio earlier this week, and I have listened to it on repeat a million times already. The song features Yola, who sings the Freedom Rider verse, and Sheryl Crow who plays guitar and sings background vocals. I’m so happy I got to see them all perform it together at The Newport Folk Festival because it’s unlikely to happen again.
And as a bonus I’m throwing in yet another version of The Highwomen’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”. They performed an acoustic version of it with Jimmy Fallon for a segment on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It’s wonderful and I find the video for it perfect, which is what really made we want to post it even though I just posted a video for this song last week. Maybe one day I’ll get over my obsession, but today is not that day.
I don’t have a ton of time to write anything this morning because I’m off to North Carolina for a wedding, but I didn’t want to leave you musicless on this Friday. I’ve been digging Dylan LeBlanc’s “Renegade”, which is off his recent fourth album. LeBlanc grew up in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and his music definitely reflects that Muscle Shoals sound which I dig. Enjoy!
I don’t usually post multiple New Music Friday posts about the same band let alone two posts in a row (though not two weeks since I missed last week while I was at the Newport Folk Festival actually listening to The Highwomen perform). I’m not super inspired by the couple of new songs that are not by The Highwomen, so I’m going to continue to share my love and excitement about this super group. I said it in my post about Newport and I’ll say it again here after seeing them perform at the Newport Folk Festival I am now ready to pay any amount of money and travel anywhere to see them again at what I’m sure will be a very limited tour when their album comes out in September. Somehow I feel like this is going to wind up with my trying to justify going to Nashville twice in the span of a year since I’m already meeting a friend there to see Brandi Carlile play at the Ryman in January.
Anyway, on with the music. Last Friday, The Highwomen released the second single from their forthcoming album, “Crowded Table”. Like their first single, “Redesigning Women”, this song was also penned by Natalie Hemby along with Lori McKenna. As they talked about during their Newport set it’s about making room for everyone. Right now in music, especially country music it can seem like a zero sum game in which instead of supporting other female artists you have to fight with them because there’s only so many slots the music industry will give them. This song is about doing the opposite of that and trying to make room for everyone at the table.
Today they also released a 100% Stevie Nicks approved (she shared it in InstaStories last night and it was super fun to watch all The Highwomen freak out about it) cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain”. Brandi has been covering this song in her live sets for years and it’s always been one of my favorite covers of hers. Now adding in the harmonies from the rest of The Highwomen plus Jason Isbell on the guitar just makes it that much better.
I’m refraining from posting a video the song I really want to share. If you don’t actually know who The Highwomen are it’s a country super group composed of Amanda Shires, Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, and Natalie Hemby. Their name is a take off of the 80’s and 90’s country super group The Highwaymen composed of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. They had a song called “The Highwayman”, which The Highwomen have written updated lyrics for. I had never heard the original until this week and it does not even hold a candle to amazing harmonies coming from The Highwomen on their version of the song. They started their set at Newport with it and it might be my favorite song from the album. They haven’t released an official version of it yet, but there are definitely some videos of it from Newport floating around out there. I am Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde about cell phone videos at concerts. I never take them and generally want to throw away everyone’s phones when I’m at concerts. I’ve spent more shows staring at the stage through someone else’s cell phone than I care to mention, and it annoys me to no end. On the other hand I have certainly been happy to watch people’s videos after the fact to either relive some favorite moments of shows I’ve been at like re-listening to this song or to see amazing moments from concerts I wasn’t at, but I’m sure someone’s cell phone video is not really how they first wanted to share that song with the world. So I’m refraining from posting it, but you know if you really want to hear it I can’t stop you from using a little Google.