New Music Friday: You’re Not Alone by Allison Russell ft. Brandi Carlile

Today’s song for New Music Friday is really only sort of new. The original version of the song appears on the 2019 album by Our Native Daughters, which was a temporary group with Allison Russell, Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla, and Amythyst Kiah. It’s one of my favorite songs off of that album, so I’m happy to talk about it in it’s newest incarnation. Yesterday, Allison Russell released an updated version of the song featuring Brandi Carlile. Proceeds from the song on Bandcamp are going to go to Brandi’s foundation, the Looking Out Foundation, and specifically their EveryTown For Gun Safety Support Fund and The Fight For Reproductive Justice Campaign.

I was very excited when they dropped this song yesterday morning because it just so happened that that same night I was seeing Brandi Carlile in concert with Allison Russell (and the Indigo Girls) opening for her. So I knew we were going to get to hear them perform the song. I was 100% right about that, and it was wonderful. I’ll have more to say about that concert later this weekend, but for now go listen to the song and maybe purchase a copy and support a good cause if you so choose.

OBX Vacation

One of my friends has been going to Corolla in the Outer Banks with his family for a long time, but they stopped doing the family beach trip a few years ago. He missed going down there with a group of people larger than just his wife and their two kids, so he suggested to the rest of the group of us who religiously did Saturday night virtual game night for the first two years of the pandemic that we get a house together and do a beach trip this summer. Surprisingly enough it actually came together and happened this past week.

There were a total of 8 adults and 5 kids ranging from ages 6 to 9. We had a 6 bedroom, 4 and half bath house. So it worked out for every family to have a dedicated bathroom plus a half bath in the room the kids slept in. There were some let’s say cleanliness issues with the house, but as far as the set-up it worked really well at least as far as I was concerned, and it was the most well stocked rental kitchen I have ever seen.

It was on the sound side of Corolla with the closest beach access about a half mile away. That was completely fine for my morning sunrise beach walks, but when we dragged all our stuff and the kids down to the beach we drove and parked. That worked out fine until the last day we were there when the beach access we had been using was flooded out. There were crazy thunderstorms on Wednesday night that caused crazy flooding around Corolla including the house next door that was lying just enough lower than ours that water was three quarters of the way up the tires on their cars. The entire block from the parking lot to the boardwalk where we had been accessing the beach was under knee high water that didn’t recede before we left. It was gloomy and occasionally drizzly on Friday so we never went to the beach to hang out there, though I still did my walk. When we tried to go back Saturday it was still under water so we made a quick pivot to another beach access, but some people had problems finding that access and parking since we hadn’t planned it ahead of time and not everyone had phones on them, but eventually we all made it there.

I’ve never been to the Outer Banks, but I was not expecting that the water would potentially be cold this time of year. Apparently it’s very dependent on how the jet stream is moving. A few days before we got there it was apparently quite warm, but that brought in a jelly fish swarm. By the day we got there the water was only about 60 degrees, which was freezing, but at least drove the jelly fish away. It was quite hot outside, so the water didn’t feel too bad as long as you didn’t stay in too long and after you got over the initial shock getting in. It’s been a long time since I’ve really played in the water at the beach, so that was kind of fun. It did get warmer as the week went on and by Saturday we were starting to see jelly fish pop back up again, so I wasn’t sorry to miss out on that.

Mostly I just went to the beach while we were there, but we did take a trip to the Corolla lighthouse and walked around the little historic village which didn’t have that much to offer but now I can say I’ve been. Friday since it was gross out we decided to play mini-golf. My husband and I have been to a specific chain of pirate mini-golf in several locations and we thought the one in Corolla was part of that chain. It was not. It was part of a different chain of pirate mini-golf, and it was lame. I am terrible at mini-golf even though I love it, and I was getting lots of ones and twos. At the other chain we’ve been to they always have two different courses you can play, so we had anticipated playing both. This one only had one, so we were going to stop and play at the real grass mini-golf course, but we were there an hour too early. However, it turns out most of the rest our friends were going to go to that course later after it opened, so we all went together. That course was hard, and was not made any easier by the fact that it started raining on us halfway through. We persevered though.

Much of my non-beach time was spent doing this ridiculous Lego minifigures faces puzzle that was crazy hard, but just easy enough to keep you going. There were probably 4 of us that worked at it pretty diligently and a couple of other people who would pop a piece in here and there and it took us six days and approximately one billion hours to put it together. We did have a good time doing it though and joking about how awful it was. You should go read the reviews on Amazon. They contain real gems like 5 stars, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever bought on Amazon.

My husband also set up a screen and projector one night so we could do a movie night outside in and around the pool. The kids watched from the pool while the adults decided we preferred deck chairs. We watched Lightyear, which was meh, but it was a fun activity and the kids enjoyed it.

This was my first time in the Outer Banks ever, so I can’t compare Corolla to any other part. However, I have a feeling it would not be my preferred place to go. The fact that you have to basically drive almost an hour south past it to get to a bridge to cross the sound and then drive back up on a two lane busy road that is super trafficy does not make me think that it’s better that some of the more southern parts you would already be very close to once you got across that bridge. Also, it seemed too crowded for the amount of stuff that was there. I surprisingly never felt that way at the beach, but like we couldn’t get all the groceries we needed for like 3 days because the shelves were decimated by everyone arriving on the weekend and wanting to buy food. And there doesn’t seem like very many restaurants for the number of people that are there. We ordered pizza at 5 pm on Sunday night and still had a two hour wait. Luckily we planned to cook most of our meals since I think eating out for dinner every night like my husband and I normally do when we go on beach vacations by ourselves would not have worked out unless we wanted to eat dinner at like 4:00. I’m not sure how it would be in any other part of the Outer Banks, but probably not worse anyways.

So long story short, the trip was a lot of fun. It was super nice to get away for the week and really take a break from all the stuff I normally worry about. I think we all traveled together well, and I would totally love to do it again, though maybe at a different beach if I can convince my friend to abandon the place he’s been going his whole life.

New Music Friday: Problem With It by Plains

Plains is a new collaboration project between Katie Crutchfield from Waxahatchee and Jess Williamson, who I don’t really know anything about. They have already said this is a one and done collaboration that will allow them to stretch and do something slightly different than they do alone. Although this first song still sounds very much in the wheelhouse of Waxahatchee to me. I can’t speak to how much it differs from Jess Williamson’s previous music at this point. They have an album coming out in October and will do a short tour around it and then just leave it to the sands of time. “Problem With It” is the first single off the album.

Last Week Delight 8/1/2022

I’m a little short on delights this week because I spent the majority of the last week isolating in my house due to a major COVID exposure. I worked from home because I have that luxury and figured it was best for me and work if I did. My husband and I chose to spend most of our time in separate rooms and masked in common spaces in case one of us got it and the other didn’t. There’s only so much delight I can experience from within the walls of my bedroom all by myself.

  • Obviously my first and biggest delight is that neither of us actually got COVID. I was going to say somehow at the end of that sentence, but I don’t actually think that’s the case. Yes this disease as somewhat capricious, and there are certainly people I know who have been exposed and not come down with it despite doing none of things I’m about to mention, so I know there is a certain amount of luck involved and we both certainly could have got it despite our precautions. However, I do firmly believe that we put ourselves in the best position to not actually get it by doing literally all of the things they say to do to keep yourself COVID free. We are both double boosted as per the CDC guidelines for our age and health conditions. Knowing we were in a higher risk setting with traveling and in the large crowds of a music festival, we tested every morning and thus caught my friend’s positive case right away and immediately all put N95 masks on and didn’t take them off again until we were home. Even though we spent 7 and half hours in a car together driving home we as I said all kept our masks on and drove with the windows partway down to maximize fresh air ventilation. It was long and hot, but we got home COVID free, so worth it in the end. Fingers crossed we repeat none of this next week in our beach trip with friends.
  • Our get out of jail free day happened to coincide with free scoop day at The Charmery for WYPR members. For some reason my husband and I have separate memberships instead of donating the same amount once as a family, so we both got a free scoop. I guess it pays to be disorganized and donate to the same organization separately instead of jointly.
  • Really the best part of going to get the free ice cream was the life size cardboard cutout of Kai Ryssdal, host of Marketplace and co-host of the Make Me Smart podcast, which is my favorite. He has mentioned on the podcast previously that these cardboard cutouts exist in various NPR stations across the country as they were some promotional thing he did for Marketplace years ago and that every once in awhile people run into one visiting a station and comment on it to him. I snapped a photo and sent it to him on Twitter, and he retweeted it with some commentary. It made me very happy, and I very much enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on it.
  • Speaking of podcast co-hosts, NPR’s Code Switch podcast recently announced B.A. Parker as their new co-host. This week’s episode was a short introductory episode to who she is. Gene Demby gave a little intro to her work and then played a song to introduce her like walk up music. It was John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”. I immediately thought she must be from Baltimore or is at least an Orioles fan. I was totally right. She is from Baltimore and an O’s fan. For those of you not in the know “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” is the 7th inning stretch music at Orioles games. Here’s an explanation for everyone wondering why the heck that song is played at every O’s game. I was very excited to be right, and did that thing I talked about before where I excitedly point at my phone while everyone near me must think I’m insane.
  • For your musical delight this week I have a song from the Footloose soundtrack. I recently snagged a cheap, used copy of it on vinyl and finally had the opportunity to listen to it for the first time this weekend. It’s one of my favorite movies, and I love the soundtrack. We had it on cassette when I was a kid, but I haven’t listened to it in years. I still love it. This is the first time I have ever watched the actual music video for this song. It’s so ingrained in my head with the footage from the movie that it was kind of weird as I was totally expecting there to be movie footage in the video. Instead it’s a whole little mini-movie in and of itself. I do have to say *chef’s kiss* for having the characters in the video walk past a cinema with Footloose up on the marquee though.