New Music Friday: Homesick by The Lone Bellow

“Homesick” is the third single released off The Lone Bellow’s forthcoming album, Lovesongs for Losers. I’ve enjoyed the first two singles as well but just never got around to writing about them. I finally felt compelled to write about a song from this album this week not actually because of the song itself but because of the video Zachary Williams from The Lone Bellow posted on Instagram describing his inspiration for writing the song.

On the face of it the song is about his family and his childhood and memories of those times in his life. Had I not listened to him say more, that’s what I would have taken away from it and not really thought about any of the lyrics in any deeper way. However, he shared that the genesis of the song was actually the death of John Prine from COVID early in the pandemic. He didn’t know John Prine well. Prine was of course a musical influence. They had met and sung together a few times, but they didn’t have any kind of real meaningful relationship. Nevertheless John Prine’s death hit him hard, and as he was lying in bed that night not sleeping the line, “If you’re homesick, it’s your heart telling your mind that you love somebody”, went through his head. He got up out of bed and began thinking about those early childhood memories and combined all of it into the song “Homesick”.

All that background on the song made it hit differently with me especially in light of the loss of a beautiful soul this week. A few hours prior to hearing this song and his description of it for the first time I found out that Paula, the woman who had been the worship leader at my church had passed away. It wasn’t unexpected as I had known she was very sick, but news like that is never easy. Like with Zachary Williams and John Prine, I can’t say that I had any kind of close relationship with her. We occasionally chatted at church events or parties that we were both at, but I would not claim that we were friends. She was a weekly fixture in my life though, leading our worship services every Sunday with her amazing voice. Truly a gift from God.

That line about homesickness and knowing the background of where it came from made me start thinking about it in a different way. Normally I think of homesickness being about a place and perhaps also the people in that place, but not necessarily about actually missing specific situations or people, especially once they’re gone. Now I actually feel like it’s the perfect word to describe what I’m feeling. I don’t feel that immense sense of grief or loss because I didn’t have that kind of relationship with Paula that would cause that, but I do feel sadness and a longing for the experience of seeing her and hearing her sing that I know I will never have again. I never would have used the word homesick previously, but now I can’t think of a better word. So I’m dedicating this song to Paula and looking forward to one day beyond this earth when I can hear her sing again.

Last Week Delight 9/26/2022

I’ve got a lot of delights to share this week, so let’s get right to it.

  • I was walking to book club last week and passed a back hoe that someone had put giant googly eyes on. The back hoe part looked like a big nose or trunk. It really animated this piece of construction equipment. Thanks to whoever made something that most people would just walk by without a second glance into something that brings a smile to people’s faces.
Back hoe with googly eyes on it
  • Speaking of book club, I appreciate that we’ve been able to meet outside with the warmer weather. We might get one more in during October, but after that we’ll have to decide how we’re going to meet. I’m definitely not ready to go back to restaurants, but maybe meeting at someone’s house would be okay? Or we go back to virtual for the winter? I don’t now. Right now I’m just trying to enjoy being able to do things outside without trying to get too anxious about what the impending cold means for my social life.
  • Maybe 5 or so years ago (who knows how long it’s been with COVID time) I was heavily involved in a project at work purchasing new furniture for our library. In retrospect a lot of the chairs students said were their favorites they never actually use because while they are very comfortable, most of the times students want something more task oriented at the library. Thus no one ever sits in my favorite of all the chairs we bought. They have my favorite fabric. They’re comfy. They spin. But there’s three chairs clustered around a small circular coffee table type thing. Ideal maybe for having coffee, but not studying or working on a group project. I was delighted to walk out of my office the other day and see three students sitting in them all huddled over laptops and books piled on that tiny table. It didn’t look like the most comfortable spot to be doing what they were doing, but I was really happy that someone finally used those chairs.
  • Coming home on my morning walk recently there have been a couple days where I’ve seen a father and a daughter sitting on metal folding chairs on the sidewalk in front of their house with trays in their laps eating breakfast together. I guess they were getting out to enjoy some of the nice weather. I thought it was very sweet.
  • I walk by this house every morning on my morning walk. When it’s the time of year where it’s dark when I walk by it and they have a light on in the house, the way it glows through their shade into the dark sky totally reminds me of a Thomas Kinkade painting. You know the painter of light. He was very big in the 90s. They sold his paintings in malls. My parents have several of his paintings. He eventually became the butt of a lot of jokes I think, but the style of this house and that glowing light just scream Thomas Kinkade to me. This photo I took doesn’t do it justice because the camera picked up way more ambient light than I experienced when I was taking it diluting the effect you can see here. Does this photo not remind you of the painting at the top of this article?
House with light glowing from the windows
  • Someone in my neighborhood put up this really cute hand drawn missing cat poster that their kid made. There was a regular missing poster with an actual photo of the cat right next to it. I hope they got their cat back.
Hand drawn missing cat poster
  • I love a good black and white cookie. I used to always get one at Zaro in Penn Station to eat on the train home from NYC. Well I haven’t taken the train to or from NYC in at least three years thanks to COVID, so I haven’t eaten one of those cookies in a long time. My husband had to go up to New York for work on Friday. He drove up and his office is nowhere near mid-town, so he couldn’t get me a Zaro cookie. He did however seek a black and white cookie out for me and grabbed one from a diner near his office. It was actually not a very good black and white cookie. It was very dry, but it was the thought that counts.
  • Saturday was a beautiful fall day. I was desperately trying to find a friend to do something with me outside, but was having no success. Either people were out of town, had COVID in their houses, or otherwise already had plans. I also feel like my social circle is way smaller than it was before COVID and given all the limitations I have placed on my social life because of COVID it’s hard to reignite some of those more peripheral relationships from the before times. Anyway, I finally decided that I was going to walk over to RemFest, which is the neighborhood festival for the neighborhood just south of mine, by myself. Then it occurred to me that my coworker lives there, so I texted her and wound up meeting up with her and her husband at the festival and then going back and hanging out at her house afterwards. Normally I would have given up way sooner in my quest to find a friend, so I’m proud of me.
  • I feel like half my delights every week come from my daily walks, but hey a little reminder to get out into the world and try and find the little joys. Anyway, I was walking home the other morning and was coming up off of this little brick path that is canopied in trees that connects the upper and lower parts of this one road. It’s a very beautiful little spot. I’m not sure if she was new to Baltimore or just the neighborhood, but this woman came up to me and asked me if it went to Druid Hill Park. I told her no that is the complete opposite direction. So she asked me where that path went and I said just up north into a neighborhood. She very excitedly told me she was going to go explore it and went on her merry way. I appreciated the vibe.
  • Yesterday I went to the Orioles game with a bunch of friends most of whom I had not seen since before COVID as even in the before times it was mostly people I would see at parties but who I mostly didn’t hang out with on an individual basis. It was nice to see everyone again. It was quite the bizarre weather day. It was warm, but with a very stiff cold wind at times that eventually brought into some thunderstorms that caused a rain delay but that blew through very quickly. Then it alternated between cloudy and sunny. The O’s lost in 11 innings. It was a very long game. I appreciated the older woman in the next section over who was obviously humoring her husband who wanted to come to the game while she sat there and read a book.
  • And finally your musical delight for the week is a song by the 80s band Expose. I heard this on the radio the other day. I do feel like Expose is an 80s band that you don’t hear very much anymore and I don’t think every properly got their due. I still enjoy Expose’s music whenever I hear it.

New Music Friday: Runner by Alex G

I’ve been enjoying the song “Runner” by Alex G for months now, but the album it’s on, God Save the Animals, was released today so it’s back to qualifying as new music. Alex G is an artist from Philadelphia. I gather that he has been around for at least a decade now, but this song and this album is the first I can recall hearing about him. Apparently the animal theme often runs throughout his albums and this one also layers in religion as well. There are a lot of really deep reviews of this album out there. I don’t generally interrogate my music as intricately as these songs apparently seem to warrant based on the reviews. I just happen to like the way this song sounds. I haven’t listened to the full album yet, but I will probably check it out even though I gather it might not all be musically to my taste.

Last Week Delight 9/22/2022

I am way late with my delights post this week, but work and life have been really busy so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write anything until like 9:30 at night and my brain is too tired to write anything coherent at that point in the day. I’m finally getting a little bit of time on my lunch break today, so let’s see if I can knock this out really quick even though I actually have a lot of delights this week.

  • Obviously if you read my previous post you already know about last weekend seeing Amos Lee in concert, going to the Xponential Music Festival, and getting to see an old friend, so I won’t say more about that now but it was definitely a delight.
  • Related to going to the festival, there were lots of families with small children there. That meant I got to see lots of babies and toddlers wearing big old noise canceling headphones, which I love. I like that they’re having their hearing protected, that they’re getting indoctrinated into live music early, and that they look adorable in giant headphones on their tiny heads.
  • I’ve seen several cars around the area recently with Seniors painted on the windows with shoe polish or whatever kids these days do that with. In my day it was shoe polish. It delights me that kids these days are still doing that.
  • I only go to Starbucks a couple times a year. I don’t drink coffee and all their drinks are sugar filled and expensive. I do like to enjoy a pumpkin spice creme frappucino once a year though. Since I don’t like coffee, I don’t like pumpkin spice lattes. There’s also only a short window between when they release pumpkin flavored drinks and it gets cold enough that I don’t want to drink a frozen drink. So mid to late September I usually try and treat myself to what is essentially a pumpkin spice flavored milkshake. I did that on my way to work last week. Now I won’t drink another one until next year.
  • We’ve had some nice weather such that I’ve been driving home from work with my windows down a lot of days. I appreciate days where the temperature is just right to do that. Baltimore doesn’t have too many of them.
  • My neighbors have a bunch of sunflowers growing in their front yard. The other morning as I turned onto my block coming home from my morning walk I saw a guy taking a video of a squirrel running across the fence with a big old sunflower in his mouth. He told me his neighbor wanted to grow sunflowers and he warned him about the squirrels and now had video proof to share with him. It amused me.
  • I feel like I must have mentioned Maillard Patisserie here before. If not I have been remiss. It’s a fairly new bakery around the block from my house. I have already spent way too much money there, but everything is delicious. Sometimes if they don’t sell out they will have mystery bags of 4 items the next morning. I’ve never snagged one before, but last Friday I managed to get the last one. I was a little worried that I would wind up with a bunch of ham and cheese croissants because I don’t like ham and my husband is a vegetarian, but I appreciated that she had the bag labeled as veg so I knew that I was only getting items with no meat in them. I wound up with an almond croissant (my favorite thing there), an everything croissant, a fig and plum galette, and a maple walnut scone. A wonderful bag of mystery indeed.

And now for this week’s musical delights

  • For sure my musical highlight of last week was Allison Russell’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert. So much joy and love. I adore her and the wonderful band of women, the Rainbow Coalition of the Loving. If you need a pick me up and something that will put a smile on your face this is the best 22 minutes you’ll spend all week.
  • I heard the song “Shimmer” by Fuel on the radio the other day. We won’t talk about how it was playing on the Classic rock station and how old that made me feel. It’s a song I literally forget even existed and yet there I was singing all the words to it while driving to work. I always like when radio reminds me of music I didn’t remember even though it was obviously once something I heard all the time.
  • I was trying to listen to the new Marcus Mumford solo album last Friday and accidentally just put on some playlist of his songs on Spotify instead of actually just playing that album so all of a sudden I was listening to the Ted Lasso theme song. It took me a second to place it, but then it put a big smile on my face not because I particularly love that song but because I love Ted Lasso and the song reminded me of it.

Live Music Weekend

I packed a lot of live music into this past weekend much to my husband’s chagrin since he got dragged along for all of it. I have been a long time member of WXPN, the University of Pennsylvania radio station. I get free passes to their annual music festival, the XPonenential Music Festival aka XPNFest, with my membership level. However, until COVID happened the festival was always the same weekend as the Newport Folk Festival, so I was never able to go. Back when we were all young and naive and thinking COVID would be a thing of the past by fall of 2020, they pushed the festival back from July to September. Of course the festival didn’t happen that year, but they announced that they would be keeping the September date permanently because it would offer better weather anyway. They did have the festival in September last year, but I was still leery of large gatherings even outdoors so I didn’t go. I finally took advantage this year.

The festival is a half day Friday, a really full day on Saturday, and then a shorter Sunday. The only band I was super interested in for Friday was The War on Drugs, who I had already seen back in May, so we skipped out on Friday so that we didn’t have to take off work early and didn’t have to pay for an extra night in a hotel. It also meant that on Friday night I could drag my husband down to Annapolis to see Amos Lee in concert. He was playing as part of the inaugural Annapolis Songwriters Festival, which had a mix of over 70 paid and free concerts throughout the week. The concert was outside on City Dock. Madison Cunningham opened for him. I really want to like her more than I do because I keep seeing lots of people talk about her including critics and artists I am generally in alignment with musically, but I just can’t get into most of her music. She was fine, but even live I couldn’t get super into it. Oh well.

I have said it here before and I will continue to say it that Amos Lee’s Thursday night Instagram concerts during the first year of the pandemic really got me through that time, so I relish any chance I get to see him live. It doesn’t happen very often because he never plays in Baltimore. I saw him play a solo acoustic show last summer at Wolf Trap with a half capacity, socially distanced audience. I had tickets to see him play with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center back in April that was rescheduled from pre-COVID, but it was too close to our trip to Hilton Head for me to want to go and risk our vacation. So I was happy to finally get to see him play with his band. I will admit that it was not my most favorite of his sets. I paid to watch his shows from the Ryman and at Red Rocks on this tour and I liked those set lists more. I still enjoyed it though and will happily jump at the chance to see him again any time.

After getting home late Friday night from the Amos Lee show, we got up bright and early Saturday morning to drive up to Camden for XPNFest. We had a hotel booked at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is in walking distance to the festival. You’re pretty much not near anything else, but since we were essentially only going to the festival that was fine and it worked out well that we could just park over there and walk to everything.

I was kind of annoyed at both XPNFest and the Annapolis Songwriters Festival because of all the rules that differed across the 3 different venues I was going to be at and the fact that they didn’t enforce most of them. I think Freedom Mortgage Pavilion is the only one that actually enforced their annoying rules. I don’t consider it freedom to not be able to take my stuff into places anymore for security reasons, but I guess only gun owners freedoms count these days. The security at the other two venues was pretty lax though. I’m used to Newport where they literally do go through every little bit of your stuff thoroughly. In Annapolis and at Wiggins Park they barely glanced at anything. In Annapolis people had bags much larger than were supposedly allowed, and apparently they changed the no chair rule at the last minute I guess because they sold way fewer tickets than expected. I don’t know how other people found this out, but it would have been nice to know so we could have brought ours. Speaking of chairs, the chair height rule at XPNFest was way lower than at Newport, so I spent a bunch of money to buy us new chairs that fit their height requirements and so many people had tall chairs. We could have taken in whatever we want. Why have the rules if you’re not going to enforce them. I’m just mad because I spent so much time and money trying to make sure I complied with everything at each venue and then it mostly didn’t matter.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect at XPNFest as the set up is kind of funky. During the day they have shows in Wiggins Park on the waterfront, but then the big headlining shows at night are next door at Freedom Mortgage Pavilion. That holds 25,000 people, but I gathered that they sold additional tickets to those shows beyond the festival and that the Wiggins Park capacity was smaller than that, I just wasn’t sure by how much. Turns out the answer is A LOT. I have no idea what the capacity or attendance actually were, but I know the Newport Folk Festival caps at 10,000 people per day, which is tiny for a music festival, and XPNFest was definitely just a fraction of that. It was a teeny, tiny little baby festival. It also skewed very old. Most of the people there were my parents age. I only saw a handful of people in their 20s and then there were middle aged people, some with kids. I guess it’s because it’s a festival put on by a radio station and kids these days don’t listen to the radio. I did appreciate feeling like I’m not the only old weirdo that’s still into new music, and doesn’t just want to listen to what I enjoyed in high school. I’ve got a long way to go to catch up to most of the people at that this festival.

There were two stages at XPNFest. The River stage is the main stage overlooking the Delaware River and then the Marina stage that is sort of behind it and off to the side a little overlooking, well the marina. They are very close together and you can totally hear the music from anywhere, but the topography of the park means you can’t actually sit at one stage and turn around and actually see the other. They music basically just flips back and forth between the two stages. While they change the sets on one stage music is playing on the other. It was kind of nice not to have the Newport problem of always feeling like I’m missing out on something because there is music happening in too many places at once.

We set ourselves up at the Marina stage both days because there was better shade. I was amused because at most venues people fill in from front to back, but at the River stage people filled in from back to front because that’s where the trees were to provide shade. The Marina stage had more trees that were larger, so there was better shade overall. My husband just stayed put and I just walked over and stood in the back to watch the sets on the River stage.

On Saturday we left the shows at Wiggins Park a little early so that we could go have dinner with one of my oldest friends. We’ve been friends since I moved to Massachusetts in 7th grade. We stayed in touch even after my family moved again right after my Freshman year in high school. Since Baltimore and Philly are fairly close, we have usually been able to see each other once or twice a year. Then COVID happened and we hadn’t seen each other in 3 years. So I wanted to make sure to see her while we were up there. We met up for dinner and got to catch up for a few hours, which was nice. Then my husband and I headed back to the headlining part of the festival in Freedom Mortgage Pavilion.

I’ve talked a lot about the setup but haven’t actually said much about the music. I won’t bore you with an in depth look at every artist. I will just point out a couple of my highlights. I was happy to finally see Lo Moon, who I had tickets to see at a small club in Baltimore back in May but that I didn’t use. I think their music fits better in a dark club at night, but hey if what I can get is a bright stage in the middle of the day I’ll take it. Bartees Strange was definitely the highlight of Saturday. His new album, Farm to Table, is definitely going to be on all the best of 2022 lists. He also has an incredible stage presence. His set was a lot of fun. Sunday was my highlight day though. I was excited to see Buffalo Nichols, who I had been looking forward to at the Newport Folk Festival before we had to abandon ship. I was happy to get a second chance at seeing him. The set I was most looking forward to all weekend was Kathleen Edwards, who I have never seen live but have wanted to for awhile. She was my favorite set of the weekend, and I immediately wanted to go see her live again. So I’m hoping that will happen at some point. Jenny Lewis was the Sunday night headliner, and she also gave a really great performance. I was extremely happy that she played “She’s Not Me” as her second song in the set because it’s my favorite and she doesn’t always play it.

All in all it was a nice little music festival, and I look forward to going again in future years. It’s not the Newport Folk Festival. Going to this just reminded me how special that is. The sense of history and the collaborations that happen there can’t be beat. This was a festival where artists played music and it was enjoyable, but it was each artist doing their own thing. That was not what Newport is about. I will go back to XPNFest and enjoy the music, but Newport is home and where I get to commune with my folk family.

New Music Friday: These Are the Good Old Days by Courtney Marie Andrews

“These Are the Good Old Days” is the third single off of Courtney Marie Andrews’ forthcoming album, Loose Future. It’s my favorite of the songs she’s released so far. It’s a song about love and living in the moment. I’m not so much worried about whether my love is going to last, but a good reminder about life in general and cherishing what you have here and now instead of worrying about the future or ruminating about the past which is always something I’m trying to work on.

Also, a fun fact about Courtney Marie Andrews specifically for one of my friends. (She knows who she is if she’s even reading this. I guess I’ll find out.) She sang backup on five songs on Jimmy Eat Worlds album Invented and subsequently toured with them on that album doing backup vocals and playing keyboards.

Last Week Delight 9/12/2022

I feel like I have fewer delights than normal this week. Let’s see what we do have though.

  • I saw something the other day online to the effect of cats’ purring being a singular expression of love. I don’t think that was the exact quote, but it was essentially the idea that there is nothing else that duplicates purring, which is really true. Scientists still don’t really know why cats purr, but it’s something special they do that let’s you know they’re happy and that endears you to them. Do you ever not feel great when you do something that makes a cat purr?
  • I have been doing 2 jobs since December 2020. In March 2022, in addition the extra job I was already doing I got handed two other jobs. I’m slowly, slowly divesting myself of them. We finally hired someone to do the job I had been doing for a year and half back in June. This week we hired someone to do one of the other jobs I’ve been doing since March. So now I’m back down to only two jobs again. It’s an improvement even though the one I’m left with is my least favorite of all of them. We haven’t had luck filling it so far, but we just re-posted it, so fingers crossed. I’m not sure I’ll even know what my actual job is anymore when this is all over.
  • We met friends for dinner at Cypriana on Friday night. It was a beautiful late summer evening, and they have a really nice patio plus delicious food. It’s been a really long time since I’ve actually gone out to dinner with friends. My husband and I have occasionally eaten outside at restaurants, but mostly we do takeout. It might be almost a year since since I actually ate at an actual restaurant with anyone but him though.
  • Speaking of the delicious food at Cypriana, I feel like I’ve mentioned this here before, but they have the best salmon. It’s literally the only entree I’ve ever eaten there and it may be the only one I ever eat because it’s so good I never want to try anything else.
  • Yesterday was our annual neighborhood festival, which has been canceled the last several years. It was nice to have it back even if it was not quite back to the same scale that it was before the pandemic. It was actually more like it was when I first started going. Then someone came up with the idea for the toilet bowl race, which was essentially a box car race except that your car had to include a toilet. That made the festival much more popular and drew a lot more people from outside the neighborhood. They didn’t have that this year. I’m not sure why, but I hope the race will be back someday at a future festival. I went up and wandered around for a little while and got some food, but I also just opened more door and listened to the music from the stage set up at the end of my block for awhile throughout the day.
  • Rainy Sundays. Sometimes it’s nice to have a rainy Sunday to give you the excuse to not do anything. It’s not like I had anything big planned anyway, but the rain made it so I didn’t feel guilty for just being lazy. With the heat of the summer I’ve been getting up early to get outside an exercise, but with the rain I had an excuse just to lie in bed hours later than I normally would have. Since church is outside right now, even though it’s covered I used the rain as excuse to watch online instead. That meant I had time to make french toast for breakfast. I also would have read and watched tv anyway, but the rain made it seem like a solid plan rather than just being lazy. I would have felt totally differently if I had outdoor plans. Next weekend I would like the weather to be really nice the whole time because I am going to be outside for pretty much the entire thing except sleeping. This weekend though it was nice to have a rainy day. Sorry to anyone whose outdoor plans did get ruined.

I almost didn’t have a musical delight for this week, but after I wrote this but before I actually posted it I came across this lovely tweet that is musically related.

New Music Friday: Anywhere by Madison Cunningham

Madison Cunningham released her third album, Revealer today. Her second album garnered her some Grammy’s and she was a frequent collaborator on Chris Thile’s public radio show Live From Here, which was the successor to Garrison Keillor’s show A Prairie Home Companion. I don’t have a ton to say about the song I chose or the album, but since her new album came out today and I’m going to see her open for Amos Lee in Annapolis next Friday it felt fitting that I make one of her songs my choice for my New Music Friday post today.

Last Week Delight 9/5/2022

We have a lot of delights this week, many of them musical. At one point I thought I was going to have an all music delights post this week, but things seem to have evened out at the end of the week. I’m realizing that most of the non-musical things are about food. I guess I like to eat and listen to music. So let’s get to it.

  • On Sunday I got to visit with friends who I haven’t seen in a long time, some of them in a very long time. Friends that used to live in Baltimore but moved out to Colorado over a decade ago were back in town visiting this weekend as part of a crazy cross-country trip they are currently taking. Some of our other friends invited a bunch of people over for a bbq to see them while they were here. That meant I also got to see other friends that I haven’t seen in awhile. Another friend got married and moved out to West Virginia where his wife is from last year. It was great to see him and finally meet his wife. There were also some other friends who do still live in Maryland but who I’m not sure that I’ve seen since the pandemic started. So it was a great afternoon of catching up with old friends.
  • I also got to pick crabs at the party, which I enjoy doing exactly once a year. My Facebook memories inform me that it often happens on Labor Day weekend at these very friend’s house that I was at this weekend. Due to a screw up with our order we even got some larger crabs for cheaper.
  • We made s’mores over their fire pit at the party as well. I had seen something on social media at some point earlier this year recommending using Ghirardelli chocolate squares in them, and I was like why have I never done this before? So I stopped on the way to the party and picked up a bag of milk chocolate caramel squares and a bag of dark chocolate sea salt caramel squares. It was indeed an excellent decision and something I highly recommend. Though it does make the s’mores much more expensive than if you’re just breaking up some Hershey bars to share.
  • My husband and I went out to dinner on Thursday night. The restaurant we went to had a section of spiritless cocktails on their menu. As someone who can’t drink, I always appreciate when restaurants do this. I don’t know why more of them don’t because it’s really in their best interest. It got $6.50 out of me that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise because I would have just drank a free glass of water instead. I don’t care for soda, so usually I just wind up drinking water at restaurants. I suppose I could ask the bar to make me something non-alcoholic even if it’s not on the menu, but I wouldn’t even know what to ask for, and it seems like a lot of work. I like being presented with a list of options and getting to choose something instead of just hoping the bartender can whip me something good.
  • The same restaurant had Smith Island cake for dessert, which is the state dessert of Maryland. The distinguishing feature of a Smith Island cake is that it usually has somewhere between 9 and 12 thin layers of cake with some sort of icing sandwiched between them. The original version is sort of a dense vanilla cake with a very fudgy chocolate frosting, but they make them in all sort of flavors. I made one when they were debating making it the state dessert and there was a recipe published in the paper. Although they are delicious, they are a big, fat pain in the butt to make and I vowed never to make another one. My friend kept bugging me to bake one. Around that time she was house hunting and I often went with her to look at houses. She’s super picky and wouldn’t commit to anything, so I told her if she bought a house I would bake her a Smith Island cake for a housewarming. She never did buy a house back then, but when she eventually got married I did finally bake a second one to surprise her at her bridal shower. Despite it being the state dessert you don’t see Smith Island cakes on too many restaurant menus, so I’m always happy when I can enjoy one that someone else has baked for me.
  • It was fried chicken biscuit day at blacksauce kitchen. It’s my favorite of their biscuit sandwiches, but they only have it a couple of times a year. I was happy to enjoy one this weekend.
  • My friend sent me a link to some other t-shirt that she was looking at on the Snorg Tees website, so then I started looking through designs and stumbled across this Animals of the World one. I’m not going to buy it, but it cracked me up. Death floof! Formal chicken!

And now for your many musical delights for the week:

  • In my post about seeing Mary Chapin Carpenter in concert the other week I mentioned that at the concert she had mentioned a series of videos she did during the first year of the pandemic. They are all still available, so I have been making my way through them. I started with One Night Lonely, which is the full concert she did with no audience at Wolf Trap. She sang the first song standing backwards on the stage so that you could see out into the empty venue. It didn’t make me happy, but it did give me a lot feels and make me nostalgic for some of the pandemic musical experiences that got me through those early days. I’d never actually want to relive that, so nostalgia for it feels odd. The human brain is weird y’all. I’ve also been watching the Songs from Home series she did on Youtube and came across the song “Don’t Need Much to Be Happy”, which I had not been familiar with before. It seems like the theme song of this blog post series.
  • I’m doing a rewatch of One Tree Hill while listening to the Drama Queens podcast. One of the reasons I loved that show so much is the use of music and how integral it was to the show. In the episode that I was watching last week they used the song “World Spins Madly On” by the Weepies, which is a song I haven’t thought about it in years. I really love it though and it fit perfectly in the episode.
  • For some reason I’ve heard the song “Sunny Came Home” by Shawn Colvin multiple times recently. It was a song and an album I adored when it came out, but then the song got way overplayed and I grew tired of it and could no longer hear what I loved about it to begin with. Apparently 30+ years is finally long enough to bring me back around on it somewhat as I really did enjoy hearing it again.
  • In other songs that I haven’t heard in a really long time, I heard the song “True Companion” by Marc Cohn. Most people if they know any of his songs know “Walking in Memphis”, but I was also partial to this song. My mom had this album on cassette tape when I was a kid. When we went on road trips we would take turns choosing what cassette to listen to, and I remember this being one of my favorite choices.
  • I’m going to leave you with this hilariously awful version of “Summer Breeze”, a song really love normally. I don’t know much about the origin of this video other than it was recorded at some benefit concert thrown by Judd Apatow at Largo in L.A. I don’t know what it’s a benefit for, but it did feature this cover of “Summer Breeze” performed by Dave Grohl, Beck, Tenacious D, and John C. Reilly.

New Music Friday: boy by The Killers

“boy” by The Killers is several weeks old at this point. I have considered writing about every Friday since it was released, but didn’t because I feel like I wrote a lot about The Killers last year with their album Pressure Machine. Also, I’m pretty sure people who like The Killers already know about the song, and I’m probably not going to sell anybody who doesn’t like The Killers at this point, especially not with this song which is very much Killersesque. So up until today I always chose another song to write about that people might not know instead.

Two things pushed me over the edge into actually writing about it this week. First, I didn’t have anything else new in the docket for this week. Second, this week’s Switched on Pop episode was a hilarious look at The Killers music. Seriously, I could not stop laughing at how outraged Nate was at their lyrics. I mean he’s not actually wrong at how ridiculous some of them are, but I honestly have never really processed them enough to think about it. I’m caught up in the momentum of the music and general story of the songs and the details of the lyrics don’t matter. As someone who thought I didn’t like The Killers for a very long time because the only song I really knew was “Mr. Brightside”, which I hated when it came out and still hate now, I loved the whole discussion even though my reasons for not liking them for a very long time were not the same as Nate’s. Once I dug further into their catalog, I discovered that I am in fact a big fan of The Killers. Pressure Machine was one of my favorite albums of 2021, and in October they very well may be my first big indoor concert since COVID happened. I have tickets and am telling myself that I’m going to go, but whether I chicken out last minute or not remains to be seen.

Anyway, “boy” is a new single they just released a few weeks ago. My understanding it is that the song was actually written prior to the Pressure Machine album and was sort of the springboard for it even though it didn’t wind up on the album itself. It definitely sounds like The Killers. You would immediately be able to peg it as being one of their songs as soon as you hear it. The real delight for me in the song is the synth that sounds very much like Erasure’s “A Little Respect”, which is a song I love. At first I thought they might have even sampled it though in listening to both songs together I believe it’s just inspired by rather than a direct sample. I’m shocked that in the podcast episode only Reanna was the only one who seemed to also recognize that similarity with Charlie and Nate only seemingly hearing it after she told them. Part of me thinks that had to be a bit for the podcast because it seems so obvious to me, but who knows. Anyway, if you haven’t managed to hear it yet take a listen.