I spent about an hour of my Outer Banks vacation running on the beach while listening to NPR’s First Listen of Blood and was made deliriously happy. “Green & Gold” and “What You Don’t Do” jumped out as early favorites before “Wonderful” stole the title away for good with its masterful pacing and phrasing — the way languid recollections morph into staccato choruses with lyrics that toe the line between clever wordplay and emotional precision. I found myself thinking back on old relationships, trying to identify which parts of them were “kind of wonderful.” It was fitting for a beach trip I’ve been taking with my family for more than 20 years — decades in which I was trying to figure out what a wonderful relationship was.
Congrats to JR JR on the new name! I loved the NASCAR reference, and I’d be lying if I said their old name wasn’t part of why I started listening to them, but it’s definitely not why I’ve kept listening to them. The Speed of Things was an excellent follow up to an excellent debut, and I know that spinning the copy I picked up at BK Music a while back is going to make my week markedly better.
I’ve lived in Virginia all my life. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ve never been outside of the state (JK it’s a commonwealth — just testing you) for more than two consecutive weeks. You could call me a homebody, and you’d be right, but that’s only part of the reason why I tend not to wander. I really, really like it here, and that sense of pride led me to interview Robbin Thompson and Steve Bassett about their song “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” which the General Assembly recently named the state (ahem, commonwealth) popular song. The interview just went up over at Richmond Navigator.
Time to say goodbye to another Friday Cheers season. Sniff. It’s incredibly sad to think of how far off the next one is, but I figure I can suppress some of that longing by looking back at highlights from the shows I was able to make it to.
Without further ado, I present the inaugural YHT Friday Cheers Awards.