Well, here we are. We’re a few weeks further into this pandemic, and I would have figured we might have gotten a little smarter about fighting this thing as we attempt to open up, but that doesn’t seem to have been the case. So on the weekend celebrating the birth of our nation, let’s give our youngest generation something to make them proud of us – JUST WEAR THE MASK and SOCIAL DISTANCE. It just ain’t that hard people, and we can still have a great time together working within those two SMALL inconveniences. There – I said it, Now, let’s celebrate some more great music and enjoy the 4th!

Starting off this week is What Did I Do from Southern Avenue, an American five-piece blues and soul blues band from Memphis, Tennessee. Formed in 2015, they took their name from a street in Memphis running from the easternmost part of the city limits to “Soulsville,” which was the original home of Stax Records. Positive Friction is from Donna the Buffalo, a band from Trumansburg, New York. The band name was suggested as “Dawn of the Buffalo” by a musician friend of the band; it was misheard as “Donna the Buffalo,” and over twenty years later they are still known by that name. Greyhounds are an American musical duo from Austin, Texas, consisting of keyboardist Anthony Farrell and guitarist Andrew Trube. Their blues roots are evident with Lone Rider. Slowing it down a bit, Michigan-raised and Nashville-based Lindsay Lou has been making soulful, poignant music for the last decade and her singing floats over the masterful playing and deep groove of her backing band The Flatbellys with Southland. Austin’s triple Grammy-winner Sara Jarosz follows with Johnny, exploring the tension and inertia of small-town living, the push/pull between the desire for escape and the ease of staying put.

Returning to an idea that we could all learn from, Americana and blues rock veteran Jackie Greene is not one to be distracted with what’s going on in the world these days with Honey I Been Thinking About You. Next up, folk rockers Mike + Ruthy are Hudson Valley based songwriters who also produce a bi-annual folk festival called The Hoot of which the late Pete Seeger called “one of the best song gatherings I’ve seen in all my 94 years,” and they are keeping it close and warm with Golden Eye. Love and Smoke favorite Jamestown Revival is wrestling with their move from Magnolia, Texas to Los Angeles with California (Cast Iron Soul). And since it’s that time of year, hailing from New Orleans are The Deslondes, and they are pulling out all the stops to withstand Mother Nature with Hurricane Shakedown. Wrapping up, all I can think about on this hot summer day is mashing avocadoes and mixing fresh ice-cold margaritas, so I’ll leave you with Peter Rowan and Los Texmaniacs with The Free Mexican Airforce.

Enjoy and celebrate the 4th, jut try to avoid the non-believers drunkenly zigging and zagging in your direction without a mask or a brake pedal. We’ll be sitting in lawn chairs a reasonable distance from each other, pulling our masks down long enough to sip our agavian masterpieces and yell out a grito or two, all while watching all the illegal fireworks in our neighborhood. Hopefully we’re all still here on the 5th.

Here’s a slower, bluesier version of Lindsay Lou’s Southland, courtesy of YouTube. Love this gal and her great pipes.