In a few weeks I’m going to Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Festival. I’m very excited about this trip for several reasons. I’ve never had the chance to visit much of the East Coast, so this will be my first time seeing Boston as well as the Newport area. I’m also looking forward to visiting the ocean. I jump at any chance to stand on a beach with the sand beneath my feet as I gaze out at the seemingly endless blue on the horizon. I adore the sound of the waves crashing against the shore. It’s so serene and peaceful.
But I digress, because foremost I’m thrilled about going to my first major music festival. The festival began in 1959, and over the last few years it’s been extensively covered by NPR. The festival is well known for introducing newcomers that have gone on to have remarkable careers. Bob Dylan and Joan Baez are two such musicians, and I have no doubt that this year’s lineup will produce similar results. I have a feeling that a number of the artists performing will be names that we hear for a long time to come and I’m thrilled that I have a chance to see them and hear their rich and beautiful music.
If you are interested in hearing (and seeing) some of the musicians (both new and well established) please check out my list below. You can easily order any of their CDs from our library catalog if you click on their names. Here’s hoping you enjoy some of them as much as I have, and I promise to report back after the festival!
Phox is a new six member indie band from Wisconsin and they’ve just released their first self-titled album.
Hurray for the Riff Raff is a folk/blues band from New Orleans.
Connor Oberst has been creating introspective folk music for several years under his name as well as the band Bright Eyes. This year he will be performing with Dawes a great folk-rock band of their own right.
Shovels & Rope is a husband and wife duo from Charleston. Their documentary The Ballad of Shovels & Rope was well received at this year’s Cleveland International Film Festival and here’s their Tiny Desk Concert.
Rodrigo y Gabriela is a wonderful Mexican duo who gained a cult following after playing on the streets in Dublin, Ireland. You can learn more about them via this interview on NPR’s All Things Considered.
Mavis Staples is one of the festival headliners. She a well known gospel singer, actress, and civil rights activist who has been performing since 1950. To learn more about this fantastic living legend check out her interview on World Cafe.
Band of Horses is a well established rock band from Seattle.
Sun Kil Moon is a folk rock band lead by guitarist Mark Kozelek formerly of Red House Painters. Kozelek was raised in Massillon, OH and he tends to write very intense and autobiographical songs.
Valerie June is a newcomer from Memphis with an extremely bright future. Her unique blend of folk, blues, gospel and soul is unlike much of the music out there today. I highly recommend her Tiny Desk Concert.