I took last Friday off not because I didn’t have a song I wanted to write about but because I just didn’t feel like writing. I’m back this week and originally planned on writing about the song I was going to talk about last week, but then some other songs popped up that I felt like writing about more. I thought about doing a threefer post, but I also really want to devote a whole post to last week’s song so I will probably wait and write about it later in the year when new music releases really start to trickle off in December.
Instead today I have two duets for you, one a cover and one a brand new song.
Under Pressure by Karen O and Willie Nelson
Earlier this week Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Willie Nelson released a cover of Queen and David Bowie’s song “Under Pressure”. Apparently she connected with him in trying to find people to do stuff to support NIVA, the association working to save independent music venues. It’s unclear to me if money from this song actually goes to support it or not. I assume so, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyway, it’s my favorite kind of cover in that it really adds a new feeling to the original song and is not just recreating it. It’s definitely going on my playlist of cover songs.
A Beautiful Noise by Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile
Last night there was some get out the vote type special on CBS and as part of it Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile performed a new song called “A Beautiful Noise”. It’s about women coming together and using their voices to fight for a better future. It was written by a cavalcade of fantastic songwriters: Ruby Amanfu, Brandy Clark, Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Hailey Whitters, and Linda Perry. It is indeed a beautiful noise. Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile sing beautifully together.
It’s no secret on this blog that I love Tom Petty and that Wildflowers is my favorite album of his and one of my all time favorite albums period. Several years ago it came to light that Tom Petty had originally recorded Wildflowers as a double album, but his record label at the time didn’t want to release a double album so 10 of the original songs were left on the cutting room floor. I immediately wanted to be able to hear those songs but thought that it was probably never going to come to pass.
For awhile Tom Petty said he had no interest in releasing those songs as a separate album because they were written at a certain time that he was no longer living in and he only wanted his music to keep moving forward. Apparently though as he was doing his 40th Anniversary tour he began planning a project to revisit Wildflowers and bring those songs to light. Obviously he was never able to bring that dream to fruition as he sadly died a few short weeks after ending that tour.
But happily his dream has been brought to life by his daughters Adria and Annakim, his wife Dana and two of the Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell. Today they released Wildflowers & All the Rest a box set that includes remastered versions of the songs on the original album and the 10 songs that were cut from the original album. It also includes early home recordings of some of the songs as well as live versions so that you can get a sense of their evolution.
I immediately skipped to the songs that were cut and haven’t even managed to make it through those yet. There is going to be so much to dig into here. I know what I will be doing this weekend. 2020 isn’t all bad, just mostly. Here’s a YouTube playlist of the 25 album versions of the songs. You’ll have to pop over to somewhere like Spotify to hear the home recordings and live versions or you know do something crazy and buy it.
I was already planning on writing about Maren Morris’s new song “Better Than We Found It”, which actually came out a little over a week ago but which I had not yet heard in time for last week’s New Music Friday post. In keeping with the tradition I seem to have started over the last few week’s for my New Music Friday posts it’s another song about thinking about the world we’re creating and leaving for the next generation. It’s a song Maren Morris wrote for her son and the video very sweetly includes him and a little love letter to him at the end.
Then I woke up this morning to a surprise drop from Yola, who is one of artists that sang on some of the songs for the Highwomen album, the country super group mainly composed of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby and also featuring Yola and Sheryl Crow. “Hold On” features Brandi Carlile and Natalie Hemby on backing vocals, Sheryl Crow on piano, and Jason Isbell on guitar which he also played on the Highwomen album. According to Yola “‘Hold On’ is asking the next [generation] to take up space, to be visible and to show what it looks to be young, gifted and Black.”
I usually try to post YouTube videos rather than Spotify links because I know not everyone has a Spotify account, but for whatever reason there doesn’t seem to be a legal version of the song up on YouTube yet. Though somehow there are already multiple illegally uploaded versions. It’s available through all the streaming services so go listen wherever you have an account.
This past week for the first time since the pandemic started we went somewhere other than our house. It’s the longest period of time I can think of that I didn’t travel somewhere. I wanted to stick somewhere within driving distance and staying in state meant we didn’t have to worry about any quarantine rules between states should there be any major outbreaks by the time our trip rolled around. So I found a house in Deep Creek Lake in Western Maryland.
It wound up being a nice little place to stay, though it was a bit stressful right before our trip when I got a call that the place had been listed on both VRBO and AirBnB and had somehow been double booked. Luckily they had another property available and the other family that had this house rented was able to shift their trip by a few days and stay at the other house. For a minute though I was thinking that it was going to be very 2020 for my trip to get snatched out from under me at the last minute.
Based on the photos I thought the house was right on the lake, but really the photos were from the boat slip they have that’s a couple of blocks away. If you squinted really hard between some houses and trees you could see a little bit of the lake from their yard. It would have been nice to have more of a water view from the house, but it wasn’t that big of a deal and it was way too cold for us to go swimming or anything.
Luckily the weather wasn’t as bad as originally forecast. It was warm when we arrived on Monday afternoon and we took advantage of that evening to make a fire in the nice fire pit they had outside. It started raining before we went to bed on Monday and poured rain all through Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, but after that it cleared up aside from a little bit of additional rain late on Thursday evening.
Since it was rainy on Tuesday we just stayed inside and read, watched TV, and played some board games. They also had a wood burning fireplace inside so we took advantage of that the rest of the trip since it was too cold for me to want to do one outside the other nights we were there.
We did a couple of short hikes on Wednesday because my husband had a work call he wanted to jump on so we did some quick hikes so that he could go home in the middle to take the call. We did a hike in New Germany State Park that was 2 miles round trip and had a nice view at the top. Since we wanted to grab dinner at a restaurant in downtown Oakland we found some walking paths near there that wound up to be less nice than the description made them seem. It said there was a path along a river between downtown and some park and then a loop around the park. The river was more a small stream and the other side of the trail was next to a busy road, so it did not seem very nature like. It also took you by the waste water treatment plant. So not the most picturesque walk, but got me the rest of my steps for the day. Thursday we did a 4.5 mile hike in Deep Creek Lake State park, which was much more woodsy.
It was a nice relaxing trip. It was nice to get away from our house for a few days since between working from home and no longer having much of a social life that doesn’t happen over a screen I spend almost all my time there. As I wanted it was also somewhere where we really didn’t have to interact with a whole lot of other people aside from running into restaurants to grab take out for dinner and walking by a few other people on hiking trails. I was pleasantly surprised that pretty much almost everyone we saw was wearing masks as I had prepared myself for people there not complying with the state laws on that. I also cut myself off from news and social media while I was gone. I highly recommend doing that for a few days. I won’t be doing any big trips like I normally do for at least another year at this point based on how things are going, but I’m already thinking about somewhere else to travel close to home where there won’t be too many people. Maybe a winter beach trip.
I just got back from a nice little getaway in the woods so I haven’t been paying much attention to new music this week. I know Dawes has a new album out today, which I have purchased but not even had the time to listen to yet. I saw Lake Street Dive premiere this song to fans during an online concert the other week, and I see that it is out to the whole wide world as of a few days ago so it’s what I’m going with. It’s about thinking about what kind of world we’re leaving future generations to “make do” with.