Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter at Wolf Trap

Last night I went down to Wolf Trap to see Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter at Wolf Trap. It was actually a show rescheduled from sometime in the summer of 2020 when it didn’t happen for obvious reasons. I actually didn’t have tickets to the original show. It must have been scheduled for a date that theoretically conflicted with some other plans I had, but I was able to make the rescheduled date for this summer. So I guess COVID did one good thing.

It wound up being an absolutely perfect outdoor summer concert. The weather was warm and a little humid, but not uncomfortably so. Sometimes with outdoor concerts I can’t dress appropriately for how warm it is at the start of the show when the sun is still up and how cool it is at the end of the show after the sun has gone down. This was just perfectly warm all the way around. There was also the wonderful ambient sound of crickets and cicadas to add a little extra harmony to the music.

One thing I like about me is that my musical interests are varied enough that I can sometimes go to concerts and be convinced I’m the oldest one there and then other times go to concerts and be sure that I’m the youngest one there. This concert was decidedly one where I felt like the youngest person the audience. That’s not really true because I did see one kid who was probably about five who was definitely younger than me, but for the most part it was a very grey haired audience with most people more like my parents age including Emmy Lou Harris herself who was the most glorious grey hair. I don’t even really have any memory of her having anything but grey hair. It’s rather impressive as someone in the public eye that she’s just owned it. But also she really is grey hair goals. If my hair looked as good as hers, I wouldn’t dye it either.

Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter were co-headlining the show. I felt like it could go either way who was in the actual headlining spot though. Emmylou Harris was up first. I did feel like she should have been in the headlining spot, but it turns out according to Mary Chapin Carpenter she would have been had she not immediately left to travel for something in New England. That also explains why Mary Chapin Carpenter came out and sang a song with Emmylou at the end of her set instead of them singing together at the very end of the show like you would expect. They sang “All the Roadrunning”. I was also amused that it seems like Mary Chapin Carpenter came out to sing that song while she was still getting ready for her set. I wouldn’t have thought anything about it if she had come out for her set with her hair up in a messy bun and in jeans, but when she came back out for her set her hair was down and the jeans had been replaced with black pants.

This was the first time I had ever really seen either one of them in concert. Back in 2015 I did go to an Emmylou Harris tribute concert that had the most amazing lineup of artists ever, which she was also at and joined in singing some of her songs at. Mostly though it was listening to other people sing her songs. This was the first time I’ve ever actually heard her songs really sung by her. Even at 75 she still has a great voice. She has a huge catalog of music, which she did a good job of playing a selection from. Though with so much music to choose from it was inevitable I wasn’t going to hear everything I wanted to. She did sing 3 songs off of the Red Dirt Girl album including the title song, “Bang the Drum Slowly” and “Michelangelo”, which I was happy about. However she didn’t sing “One Big Love”, which I would have liked to hear off that album. I was also happy that she sang “Pancho and “Lefty” but was honestly shocked that she didn’t sing “Wrecking Ball”. We got “Goin’ Back to Harlan” off that album instead. It was still fantastic even if I didn’t get to hear everything I wanted to hear. She just needed a longer set.

Both Emmylou Harris and Mary Chapin Carpenter did a good job of telling stories and talking about the inspirations for their songs. I love when artists do that at concerts instead of just singing. Some artists I’ve seen so many times I could tell the stories behind all their songs, but in this case since I’d never really seen either of them live before the stories were all new to me.

And that brings us to Mary Chapin Carpenter’s set. She told a story that is probably the best thing I have ever heard an artist say from the stage before in all the many concerts I’ve been to. In introducing her band she said that some bands do things like do drugs and trash hotel rooms. They play croquet, and they all have handles they use during their games so she was going to introduce them with their croquet handles. She said whenever they finish sound check some place they find a little patch of grass and set up their croquet set and play a game. I love this so much.

A lot of the songs from her set came from her newest album, The Dirt and the Stars, which was released in 2020. That album completely passed me by as did the fact that she apparently did a live YouTube thing called Songs from Home for the first 62 weeks of the pandemic playing a song a week into her phone which was apparently duct taped to a ceramic jug. That apparently led to an actual live concert with no audience performed at Wolf Trap which aired on PBS as One Night Lonely and won her a Grammy. Obviously there was a lot going on in the first year of the pandemic, but I can’t believe none of that ever made its way before my eyes in all that time. Luckily it looks like she still has all the YouTube videos up on her channel and you can watch the PBS special if you’re a Passport member, which I am. So I’ll have all that to go back and watch now. Anyway, all that is to say that I didn’t actually know a lot of the songs that she played. It didn’t really matter because they were great even if I wasn’t familiar with them. She did in fact play the three songs that I wanted to hear “Passionate Kisses”, “I Take My
Chances”, and “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her”. So I can’t complain at all.

There was nothing at this concert that made it particularly special. It was really just two legendary musical artists doing their thing. But the simplicity of it, the beautiful venue, the wonderful summer weather all just came together to create a perfect concert.

New Music Friday: Me and the Moon by Devon Gilfillian

Devon Gilfillian has a new single out this week, “Me and the Moon”. It’s off of the SPELLJAMS album from which I started seeing songs from artists like pop-up up this week. It’s apparently a compilation of music that is supposed to soundtrack a new Dungeons and Dragons game, Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. It’s produced by Chris Funk of the Decemberists, who is apparently a long time Dungeons and Dragons player. I have never played Dungeons and Dragons and don’t intend to start now, so I will never know how this song connects to the game. However, it’s still a jam. It’s got a great groove, and I’m happy to have some new Devon Gilfillian music in the world.

Last Week Delight 8/22/2022

Buckle in. I’ve got a lot of delights for you this week because I have a backlog on my list of delights from before I went on vacation and didn’t write a delights post for a couple weeks.

  • Pete Seeger stamps. The USPS just released some new stamps celebrating Pete Seeger, which whey released in conjunction with this year’s Newport Folk Festival. I bought some to use on the rare occasions I have to physically mail something. I thought it was very appropriate that they arrived on the same day as my socks from the sock of the month club my husband gave me for Christmas, which happened to have records on them. I also used the stamps to mail a deposit check to the woman I’m re-renting a place from for next year’s Newport Folk Festival, which also felt very apropos. I hope she noticed.
  • While we were gone on vacation I got a jury duty summons, which is the opposite of a delight, but my friend who was cat sitting took a photo of my summons next to Scout and caught her in a photo cleaning herself at a moment that her tongue was out such that it looks like she’s sticking her tongue out at my jury summons. She texted me the photo and said that she and Scout feel the same way about my jury summons. I agree with both fo them.
  • I had doctor’s appointment last week and people in the waiting room were friendly in the exact right amount. Not overly friendly like forcing you into some conversation you don’t really want to be a part of, but several people said good morning to the entire room of people and one woman told everyone to have a blessed day as she was walking back to see the doctor. I feel like I don’t see strangers interact like that very much and it was kind of nice.
  • On Tuesday morning I was confused when I woke up and got up earlier than I need to. I was thinking about what time I was getting out of bed on vacation to make sure I got down the beach before the sunrise, which is about 10 minutes earlier than I normally roll out of bed on work days. It meant that I actually made it out for my walk in time for Baltimore’s sunrise, and I was very glad I did because it was a spectacular sunrise of the sort that I don’t get to see too often because since there are too many trees and buildings blocking the horizon I have to rely on just the right kind of high clouds to reflect the sun and give me really great color. This was perfect.
  • My street is like the harbinger for friendly orange cats. For a long time we had Killer, who was the unofficial mayor of Hampden and who people still talk about even though it’s been several years since he died. Now there is another friendly orange cat roaming around. Based on posts in the Hampden Neighbors Facebook page I think his name is Sam. I’m pretty sure he’s the same cat people have been talking about anyway. He decided to pay my stoop a visit the other morning when I was trying to leave for work. He was sitting there and every time I tried to open the door he would try and sneak into my house. It was very adorable. It’s nice to have another neighborhood cat roaming around again.
  • On my walk the other morning I passed this squirrel with a cartoonishly large amount of dried grass stuffed in his face that he was trying to get down. It made me chuckle.
  • On Saturday night I drove down to DC to visit a friend and we went to some Jazz in the Parks thing that they’ve been holding on the Great Lawn in front of the original location of Walter Reed, which has long since moved to Bethesda. In the original plans it was supposed to be us plus our husbands, but I failed to put it in our calendar so my husband agreed to work to do some off-hours testing for his job. I almost didn’t go because I didn’t feel like driving down by myself, but I’m glad I did. It wound up being a lovely evening to sit outside, picnic, and listen to some music. I’m trying to remind myself take advantage of things I can do outdoors while it’s still nice before my social life goes back into lockdown with the cold weather.

And now for your musical delights:

  • I honestly don’t remember in what context I heard the song “We Built This City” by Starship and added it to my delights list. But my list says “We Built This City” and I vaguely remember hearing it recently, but that’s about it. I do love that song. I always have and presume at this point I always will. I know people like to say it’s a terrible song and it routinely gets put on worst song lists, but despite the fact that it is pretty hokey and definitely very much of it’s time I will never not listen to it when it comes on. And for a song that everyone apparently hates it has over 106 million views on YouTube, so I think people love it like I do, but just feel like they’re supposed to say it’s awful. I would never.
  • As I’ve previously mentioned the Mark and Sarah Talk About Songs podcast is doing a season in which they’re ranking 40 songs to determine which one is the most Lilith Fairest. In last week’s episode they talked about the song “I Know” by Dionne Farris. It’s not a song that I could pull based on the name alone, but as soon as they played a clip I got huge sense memory. It’s not a song I ever particularly cared for and still really don’t, but it is definitely a song that has the power to evoke the feelings of a certain time in my life that I very much appreciated.
  • I was driving home from work on Friday and passed someone riding an electric scooter while wearing one of those mirrored motorcycle helmets that makes it impossible to see their face and makes them seem kind of robotic. This was at the exact same time I was listening to the song “Heads Will Roll” by the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. The speed at which he was riding fit the song so well, and it was this perfect 10 seconds where I was like this feels like it should be a scene in a movie soundtracked to this song.

Brandi Carlile with the Indigo Girls and Allison Russell at Merriweather Post Pavilion

On Thursday night I went to Merriweather Post Pavilion to see Brandi Carlile with Allison Russell and the Indigo Girls opening for her. It was like a mini modern day Lilith Fair with so many amazing musical women lifting each other up. Allison Russell has had an amazing year and deserves all the accolades she has received, but she will tell you that Brandi has helped lift her up and achieve all those dreams. Brandi talked about how much the Indigo Girls mean to her and how she used to busk outside their shows as a teenager and then how she opened for them early in her career and they would invite her to hang out on their bus and how much it meant to her. Now she is at a place in her career where she is headlining the large venues that the Indigo Girls would not be able to headline anymore and she’s bringing them out to open up for her in some kind of full circle thing. Allison Russell is following in their footsteps and using whatever power she has to help bring up people behind her as well. She has an amazing band of women backing her up who all have their own other stuff going on and she never misses an opportunity to highlight them and their work and encourage people to go seek it out. That includes SistaStrings who were doing double duty with Allison and Brandi. I first got introduced to SistaStrings, who are sisters Monique Ross on the cello and Chauntee Ross on the violin, back in February when I saw Allison Russell play at the Barns at Wolf Trap. Then when Brandi started this tour I saw that they were playing has half of the string quartet she’s been touring with the last few albums. I was like she stole them from Allison! Anyway, they played in both sets, and they are a real force. My favorite part of the whole show was the last minute and a half of the Brandi’s song “Sinners, Saints, and Fools” when they were basically headbanging while playing stringed instruments. It was pretty amazing. The sound in this video is pretty terrible, but I’m linking to the part I’m talking about from someone’s cell phone video if you care to look.

Allison Russell was up first. She only played for a half hour, which was what I was expecting, but I still wish it had been longer. She did come back out and perform with both the Indigo Girls and Brandi Carlile though. I love watching her and her band perform. It’s just a big old love fest out on the stage with them, and they can all really jam.

The Indigo Girls were up next. I expected that they would have an hour, but I was surprised that they only played for 40 minutes. That’s because Brandi is really giving it her all this tour. Her set clocked in at 2 hours and 15 minutes. That’s almost unheard of these days. If you get longer than 90 minutes from the headliner at most shows you’re lucky. Anyway, parts of the Indigo Girls set were a fun singalong, which was great. Sadly, most of their set was ruined for me by the obnoxious women who finally showed up to sit in the seats in front of us 2 songs into the Indigo Girls’ set. I wish that my super power was not attracting the absolutely worst people in any concert venue to be situated directly by me. I’m out here saving the rest of you from them I guess. They were obviously already drunk and/or high when they stumbled in. They would not shut up. They were having obnoxiously loud conversations even during quiet songs when everyone else was sitting and trying to listen to the music. They were paying zero attention to the concert. I’m not sure why they bothered paying hundreds of dollars to be there. They could have done the same thing at a bar for free. I guess then they couldn’t have had the zillions of selfies they took of themselves at the concert. Mind you this was two women who looked like they were probably sisters in their 50s plus a twentysomething woman who was one of their daughters. Not who I would have stereotypically pegged to ruin my night in this manner, but they did and not just mine. Other people sitting around them finally ran them out of the show with a little over an hour left in Brandi’s set, so we at least got to enjoy that. The people in front of them and sitting next to them kept yelling at them to shut up. It still didn’t get me completely away from them, but once it was clear that no was coming to sit in the 6 seats to my left a couple of songs into Brandi’s set, I moved down 4 seats to get away from them. They finally took the hint and left, but I can guarantee when they tell the story they will not be the villains in it. It’s too bad because I had been enjoying people watching until they showed up and ruined it. That included realizing that the man in his 60s and the girl maybe in her late 20s/early 30s a few rows ahead of us were in fact a couple and not the father and daughter I thought at first.

Brandi’s set was great. As I already said she played forever. A good mix of stuff of her new album and her previous ones though mostly the newer ones aside from “The Story”. That was the most singalong version of that song I’ve heard at all the many concerts of hers I’ve been to. This crowd was obviously in the mood to sing. I’ve been to a lot of Brandi Carlile shows as you probably know if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, so I know it’s not unusual for her to say that a show is one the best nights she’s had in her life or the last decade or something to that effect. She doesn’t say it 100% of the time, so I honestly think she believes it when she says it though it’s definitely part of her act. It doesn’t matter though because she will 100% convince you she’s never said that to anyone else with her performance. She and her band put it all out there. They always put on such a good show. During her encore, which was over 30 minutes long she had Allison Russell out to sing “You’re Not Alone”, which they had just released as a single earlier that day. She also had the Indigo Girls come out and sing a couple songs with her including “Least Complicated”. Talk about a singalong. It was a great night and it would have been perfect if it wasn’t for those dumb women. I’m glad that they only impacted half my night, but it would have been better if had been none of it.

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.

New Music Friday: Lissie and Lake Street Dive

It’s a crazy busy new album release day. Everyone else in the world is diving into the eagerly awaited new Béyonce album, Renaissance. As we’ve already established that’s not really my jam, but I am super excited for the Maggie Rogers’ album, Surrender and the new Amanda Shires’ album, Take It Like a Man. Plus the third part of Tedeschi Trucks Band’s 4 EP cycle I am the Moon is also out today. I have already written about songs from all three of those albums though, so I’m not going to talk about any of those today. There’s also a new King Princess album, Hold On Baby that I’m liking what I’ve heard so far, but I’m not going to talk about that either. Instead I’m going to share a couple of singles I’ve been digging this week.

“Night Moves” by Lissie

“Night Moves” is the first single off of Lissie’s forthcoming album, Carving Canyons, due out in September. Lissie is an artist who whenever I hear one of her singles I really love it and think I should check out more of her music and then I never, ever do for some reason. I really should remedy that because she is obviously someone I would be super into if I spent any amount of time with her work. I’m really digging the new song. It could not sound more like a Stevie Nicks song if it were in fact a Stevie Nicks song. That’s pretty much all I have to say about it, but I think that’s enough.

“Nick of Time” by Lake Street Dive

Ten years ago Lake Street Dive released the EP, Fun Machine, which was an EP of covers that helped springboard the start of their career. To celebrate the anniversary they are doing a sequel to Fun Machine this year. The first cover song they’ve released from it is Bonnie Raitt’s “Nick of Time”. It’s probably my favorite Bonnie Raitt song and they are the perfect band to do a cover of it, especially with Rachael Price’s vocals.

Last Week Delight 7/25/2022

Writing this post this week is real hard because I feel anything but delightful, so indulge my whining for a few moments until we actually get to some delights. It’s kind of weird to be writing a post about delights while crying, but here we are. If you know me at all, you know that the Newport Folk Festival is my favorite weekend of the entire year. It’s the thing I most look forward to doing and really fills my soul to get me through the next year until we go back and do it all over again. But it was all snatched away from me because of stupid COVID and the fact that I’m a responsible human. For the first time ever we had a friend with us driving up and sharing an AirBnB. Unfortunately, she tested positive for COVID on Saturday morning after only the first day of the festival. So we basically quickly packed up all of our stuff and drove home with N95 masks on and the windows open despite the 100 degree heat. Let me tell you that was a long, hot, unpleasant drive. We could have not cared about spreading it and sent her home on a plane and then gone to the festival ourselves knowing that we could be incubating COVID, but we are not those people so we missed out on two days of the festival. I’m just so annoyed because literally I can count on my fingers and tell you the exact times I have spent time with anyone besides my husband unmasked indoors since COVID started and one of the few times I attempt it, it blows up in my face. I’ve missed out on so much in the last two years while everyone else has just gone back to living their lives, and one of the few times I actually try and let myself live a little despite COVID and it gets destroyed. Saying it’s not fair is a really dumb thing to say, but well it’s not fair and I’m mad at the world right now.

I don’t know what is in store for the festival as I write this on Sunday and it’s probably better for my mental health if I never find out what awesome surprises I miss out during the closing Sunday night show (update: it was Joni Mitchell who hasn’t performed a full live set in decades. I’m devastated to have missed it), but I know a bunch of amazing things that I missed out on Saturday and my heart is already broken. Paul Simon showed up as a surprise set closing the festival on Saturday. When he announced his farewell tour a few years ago, knowing that he had somehow never played Newport, I was so sure he was going to be a surprise guest that year. Then he wasn’t and I figured well that’s it. It’s never going to happen. But it did happen and I missed it. Sob!

So I’m sitting at home instead of the festival today wallowing in self pity and wondering if I’m going to test positive for COVID in the next day or two and hiding away from my husband and wearing a mask in all common rooms lest one of us test positive while the other avoids it somehow. Of course I got a big reminder this morning that this self pity I’m sitting in is pretty mis-placed because there are people I know dealing with much bigger challenges than me missing some live music no matter how much I love it. So I’m sending some prayers up for her and giving myself a reality check. So let’s end this pity party and try and find what good we can.

First up a few delights from earlier in the week pre-festival.

  • We record Jeopardy on our DVR and then just watch an episode whenever we have time, thus we are weeks and weeks behind. So in relation to what’s happening on the show currently I don’t know, but two episodes in a row that we watched this past week I got the final Jeopardy answer and none of the contestants did. I always feel super smart when I know it and they all get it wrong and to have it happen two nights in a row made me feel even extra super smart.
  • Cicadas. I’m not talking about the crazy overwhelming number of 17 year cicadas that we experienced in Baltimore last year. I’m just talking about your run of the mill cicadas that come out every year during the heat of the summer. We’ve finally hit that part of summer when they’re out, and I love hearing their hum early in the morning on my walk or in the evening. It’s totally the sound of summer to me.
  • The Mark and Sarah Talk about Songs podcast is just starting a season where they rank 40 songs to determine the most Lilith Fair song of them all. They switched up their format to exclusively do these ranking seasons, and this is their second one. I miss the original format where they used to just talk about a random song each episode and then do a ranking of songs from a particular album every 10th episode and then in March do a larger ranking tournament on a topic, which is what they are doing all the time now. Even though I’m less into the new format, I still like the podcast and am particularly looking forward to this Lilith Fair season that starts for real on the day I’m posting this. They had one short intro episode to the season last week, but this week’s episode starts the actual rankings.

And now onto a few delights I experienced at the extremely short time I got to be at the Newport Folk Festival this year.

  • I made sure to get my lobster roll right away this year. Last year I missed out because the little sandwich shop/ice cream place right by the ferry we take to and from the festival where I used to grab a late dinner from some nights after we got back over on the ferry closed during the pandemic. There’s more like a real restaurant that just opened in that space this year. There was some temporary sandwich place in there last year that didn’t have a lobster roll. I refuse to eat a lobster roll at the actual festival because it seems too dicey to eat something like that in the hot sun. Anyway, this year after we got in on Thursday night, we got dinner from a place that is down the road from where my sister-in-law used to live because I know that they have a lobster roll I enjoy. So I checked that off my list right away.
  • Every year we have gone to the festival there has been this other couple that sets up their blanket and chairs in very near proximity to us. In the 10 years we’ve been going, we’ve never actually spoken with them, but I always see them and they have been my secret festival friends in my head all these years and it makes me happy whenever I see them. I spotted them for the first time this year waiting in the merch line where I made a beeline as soon as the gates opened while my husband went and snagged our normal spot. When I got there he told me the empty chairs in front of us were indeed those of our festival friends who apparently saw him setting up and were like oh it’s you. We sit by you every year. So then I chatted with them when they got back and told them they were my secret festival friends and it made me so happy to find out that we were their secret festival friends right back. She told me I’m always dancing with her at the end of the night even if no one else is. I’m sad I won’t be there to dance with her at the end of this festival. I hope they don’t think we ran away and sat somewhere else instead.
  • Speaking of merch, I’m very happy that I was smart enough to go ahead and wait in line for merch on Friday as well as make it over to the Newport Festival Foundation membership tent to renew our membership that guarantees us the ability to buy tickets for next year’s festival because it’s real hard to get tickets these days otherwise. I would have been devastated if we didn’t have that guarantee and then failed to get tickets next year. So I’m glad I didn’t put that off thinking I still had two more days to deal with it.
  • The festival is held on the grounds of Fort Adams State Park, so there is obviously an old fort there. My friend and I were at the stage that is set up inside the fort watching a set and were sitting up against the fort wall where there was a little bit of shade still. There was a family next to us with two little girls I’m guessing about 6 and 3. The older one came over to us first and gave us little rubber band bracelets that she made. Then her sister came over and gave my friend a sticker. I guess I wasn’t cool enough for a sticker. Then she started telling us all about the ghosts and skeletons that live in the fort, but that we shouldn’t be afraid because if they tried to come out and get us she would kick them for us. It was very adorable. I love that the festival is so family friendly and you see newborn babies to senior citizens.
  • We stayed at probably the best AirBnb I’ve ever stayed in. The property itself was great and really well stocked. And she was super awesome when I told her about having to leave early because of COVID. She refunded us a little bit of money right away and then said that if the guests who were supposed to check in after us on Monday said they wanted to come a day early now she would refund even more of our money, which she just did. So in total we got one of the two nights we didn’t stay refunded. Obviously, she was not required to do any of that, so that fact that she did was super awesome and above and beyond since it meant she lost some money on our booking on a prime weekend. There were some other details that I would mention that would let you connect this post to her booking if you went looking, and since she asked me not to mention the refund in my review I’m going to leave it at that here. But I’m definitely planning on rebooking her place for the festival next year.