From The Desk Of Amy Rigby: The Outer Banks

Amy Rigby is back with The Old Guys (Southern Domestic), her first solo album since 2005’s Little Fugitive. A veteran of NYC bands Last Roundup in the ’80s and the Shams in the ’90s, Rigby recorded the 12-track The Old Guys with husband and musical partner Wreckless Eric in upstate New York, where the couple resides. Not only is Rigby currently on tour in support of her new LP, she’s also guest editing all week.

Rigby: Growing up in Pittsburgh, you had two choices if you wanted to go to the real beach (at an ocean, not some fake beach like Lake Erie): Wildwood, N.J., or the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Maybe it had something to do with the highway system—east across I-76 toward N.J., or east and then south, 76 to 95 to 64. My family drove 10 steaming hours every summer, seven of us packed in a station wagon, crossing into a mythical place known as the South. We stopped at a supermarket in Virginia called Piggly Wiggly, where there were dark green collards in bunches and jars of pig feet lining the aisles. There was an endless bridge to get to this sandbar in the Atlantic where there was nothing but Jockey’s Ridge, the largest natural sand dune on the east coast, plus the ocean, a few seafood restaurants and, way, way down at the end, the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. It was the essence of beach with no aesthetics intruding—no particular architecture or cuisine except for a few items that hinted at the South like hush puppies and sweet ice tea called simply “tea.” Decades later between gigs in North Carolina, I went back expecting it to be all built up and commercialized like the rest of the places I’ve loved. But the Outer Banks was the same. The ocean has eroded the coastline a lot, but you can’t argue with that giant sand dune.