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My Summer With Citizen Cope

“Picture it, Cape Cod  2019.” Ok, so that was only last year, but if you get the Golden Girls joke, it’s worth it.  I can picture that summer on the Cape quite vividly. And not just because it was so recent. It was my first season of oceanfront lifeguarding at Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts.  A whole three months dedicated to days spent sitting on the beach, swimming in the ocean, running in the sand and nights spent listening to music while drinking cheap beer. This may sound simple, because it is!  Of course, the tasks of a lifeguard are not simple. But the lifestyle is a kind of bliss… save the sunburn and occasional heat exhaustion. I lived in a little cottage about 1/4 of a mile from longnook beach, without cellular service or wifi.  I started my day with a little stretching in my wooden paneled bedroom while listening to an audiobook. Then I packed my lunch, washed my face, applied the first of five layers of spf, made some coffee, and hopped in the car for a splendid drive up route 6.  And yea, I had only the best roommates: my older brother and sister. Luke and Ruth had both been oceanfront lifeguards in the past, but never at the same seashore. This was our special summer. We are aged 23, 21, and 19. So no, they did not let me into the Beachcomber for late night shows or dancing, but I still enjoyed a lot of music – which is the whole point of my story here.  I listened to new music with my coworkers on our workouts, or in the car ride to our morning swim. At home, Luke would blast music while one of us cooked dinner and the others nursed cut feet or sun kissed cheeks. Occasionally we would go out for seafood. One day, still early in June, we sat on a patio at a beachy cafe waiting for our fish and chips. Local venues and artists had hung posters along the panels beside the bar and the Payomet advertisement for summer concerts was hung; we all read through, but I did not recognize any of the artists.   My brother’s face, however, lit up at the mention of Citizen Cope. Ruth and I were not enthused and not convinced we wanted to pay for a concert of a musician whose music we were not familiar with. Thankfully, Luke persuaded us… he paid for all three tickets. 

 The concert day rolls around and instead of changing into baggy sweatshirts and extra large T shirts after the work day, we all shower up and change into breezy classy fits, featuring Chacos of course.  First of all, Payomet Performing Arts Center is probably the coolest music venue I have been to. It is situated on an old military base within Cape Cod National Seashore, Truro MA. A large white tent is set up containing folding chair seats and the wooden stage.  A little pop up bar exists next to the tent. Many of the surrounding buildings are no longer in use, but there are some neat mural paintings on the sides of the old bricks… which is rather cool and pretty. A roadway through this base leads to a beautiful elevated dune lookout of the Atlantic ocean.  So cool. I wish I could be there now.  


 The concert was great fun.  My siblings and I danced goofily but we were not even the oddest people in the crowd movement. Ruth and I were ecstatic. We had found new music to adore!  Cope’s music is a mix of soft rock with blues and folk mixes. I don’t wish to pin his music down. His songs such as “The River”, “Son’s Gonna Rise”, and “Bullet and a Target” are better informers.  He has been making music with his guitar since 1991. His latest album, Heroin and Helicopters was released in 2019. https://citizencope.com/

For the remainder of the summer, we listened to Citizen Cope ninety percent of the time.  In the car, where Luke would control the bluetooth, Ruth would say, “can you play that guy we like?” It got right up to the edge of overkill, but I can say that we thoroughly enjoyed and explored his music.  I love this story for three reasons: I discovered a love for live music, it is set in my favorite place – the beach, and I share it with my beloved brother and sister.

Rachel is a junior at Denison double majoring in Geoscience and Educational Studies. In addition to contributing to HerCampus, Rachel loves backpacking, reading, swimming, and listening to her favorite band, Pearl Jam.
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