Newport Dump

I’m pretty sure I don’t know how to blog, so this is mostly up to you.  I’ve been to four consecutive Newport Folk Festivals, and they’ve all been worthwhile experiences. Here’s my quick, down ‘n dirty thoughts on this year’s festival.


Day One:

Joe Pug would “trade the harvest for the seed.” Thats’s some deep shit, right there. He looks younger than he sounds, and he sounds like denim. Well-worn denim, like your go-to pair of jeans that always fit comfortably and perfectly.


Elephant Revival offered a pleasant soundtrack while I ate a Greek salad. The musical saw was just a bit oily, but the mandolin offered enough bite and spice to keep me interested.

Dennis Lamar will LOVE Leon Bridges if he doesn’t already.

The Museum Stage smelled like body odor because The Ghost of Paul Revere was making people sweat (in a good way).

Close up, bass/drum strangeness plagued The Lone Bellow, but they sounded perfect from the beer tent.


Strands of Oak was big and burly. I’d like to see them at cafe nine or The Ballroom at The Outer Space, but they’d probably fit best at Toad’s Place.


Iron + Wine /  Ben Bridwell were great from my blanket in the grass as the skies turned grey and intermittent drizzle fell. Lovely!

I have two records by My Morning Jacket, but I am lukewarm on them. I will re-listen after hearing their unannounced surprise set.

And I’ve already taken enough shit for missing Roger Waters, so I’m not saying anything more about that…


Day Two:

Dennis Lamar already loves The Suffers from Houston, TX, and you should too. I got a little emotional during their set.

Caught a few from the spirited Spirit Family Reunion and two solo songs from Joe Fletcher before heading to see a beautiful set from The Barr Brothers. And a great story story about their parents’ first date: Newport ’67.

Heard Joe Pug play an unannounced solo set in the family tent, Madison Ward and the Mama Bear, Nikki Lane, and Traveler (I need to hear a Lot more of those two acts) on my way to the beer garden, where I listened to Langhorne Slim (which is the appropriate place to listen to them). “There is a think line between lovers and thieves” and beer drinkers. their rowdy loveliness moved the spirit inside me.

Jason Isbell (who looks like the love-child of Christopher Walken and Paul Mayer (from cafe nine) played an outstanding set. I was glad to see him because I missed him at College Street Music Hall.

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Courtney Barnett is a crazy bitch (in a good way).


Sturgill Simpson appears a lot differntly than I expected, but he also rocked harder than I expected.  And Brandi Carlile took me by surprise as well –  I teared up twice during her stripped-down acoustic set.

The Decemberists are GREAT!

Day Three:

Christopher Paul Stelling played a great gig in front of an enthusiastic crowd (including his parents) and got engaged on stage. A nEwport Folk Festival First.

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I almost (but not quite) got saved (!) during sets by Berklee Gospel Choir and The Jones Family Singers.

I have two record by Nathaniel Rateliff that do not thrill me as much as his live set did. I guess that’s how it is sometimes.

The Felice Brothers are sloppy and beautiful, and Erik Elligers agrees.

First Aid Kit are not sloppy at all, but they are still beautiful. They rocked almost as hard as Heart when they covered War Pigs.

Hozier was really cool, and a band I will most certainly explore further.

The ’65 Revisited set was riddle with rumors about who who play: “Bob Dylan flew into Boston last night!” ” Neil Young will definitely be here.” “Bono’s yacht is in the harbor.” Paul McCartney?? Yusuf Islam? Joan Baez?  We got Robyn Hitchcock instead…

Closing thoughts: see you next year, Newport.