Festivals, Newport Folk Festival, The Revue — July 23, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Newport Folk Fest: Sunday Guide

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With Day 2 wrapped up, it’s time to start planning for Day 3. If you’re like us, you’re probably a little bit tired right now. Reading about the artists who will take the stage on Sunday may perk you up. Once again, the Newport Folk Festival team have given us a fantastic lineup. Your schedule may have some conflicts or maybe you are undecided. In either case, let our guide aid you with your decisions.

 

Newport Folk Festival 2016: Sunday Guide

Just like how the first two days started, Sunday commences with the Martin Guitar Open Mic (10:00) and For Pete’s Sake (11:00) in the Museum. The intimate setting is the perfect place to ease into the long day of music. The lineup for For Pete’s Sake is pretty stellar, featuring the multi-talented Louisiana native KYLE CRAFT; the Cajun-infused folk music of SAVOY FAMILY BAND; the sublime harmonies of ANNA & ELIZABETH; and the string brilliance of LYDIA & ANDREA. Hopefully all the artists will collaborate for at least one Peter Seeger song given their diverse skill sets, which could lead to a spiritual moment…

…that others may seek when they attend the set involving IAN FITZGERALD and SMITH&WEEDEN (11:00, Harbor Stage). This unique collaboration brings together Fitzgerald’s traditional folk approach with Smith&Wedden’s more upbeat Americana and country rock. Will they play covers? Will they reinterpret each other’s music? The performance is what Newport Folk Festival is all about – surprises…

…which is likely how people will describe RIVER WHYLESS(11:05, Quad Stage) performance. Their indie dream-folk is stunning and often reaches the level of breathtaking. Their sound caught the attention of NPR, who invited them on an episode of the Tiny Desk Concert series. Their 2015 self-titled EP, meanwhile, opened our ears to what the folks of Asheville, North Carolina have long known: this is a hidden gem that must be heard and seen. What makes this band immensely unique is that there is not a principal songwriter. Instead, each of its four members – Ryan O’Keefe, Halli Anderson, Alex McWalters, and Daniel Shearin – share the songwriting duties, making them a collaboration within a single band. They are, as such, just perfect for Newport Folk Festival…

…as are BERKLEE GOSPEL CHOIR (11:20, Fort Stage), who return for the umpteenth time. The Choir’s presence on this day, at this time slot, and on the picturesque Fort Stage is tradition. Whether you are religious or not, the Choir’s performance will move you and maybe take you high into the skies…

…much like how hearing a single note from JOAN SHELLEY (12:05, Harbor Stage) will do. Her last album, Over and Even, demonstrated why people have fallen for the Louisville-based singer-songwriter. She is a folk purist to the core. Should you attend her performance, be prepared to be serenaded by folk’s next big thing…

…or discover Canada’s next big thing in THE STRUMBELLAS (12:20, Quad Stage). The sextet from Toronto have been receiving airplay across country north of the 49th parallel and overseas, including New Zealand. Their mix of folk-pop and alternative pop will have people recalling Lord Huron’s 2015 set, where every single person will be standing, clapping, and dancing…

…whereas a loud choir will be emerging as THE OH HELLO’S (12:30, Fort Stage) take the stage. The brother-sister duo of Maggie and Tyler Heath plus their bandmates emerged as NFF favorites in 2014 when graced the Quad Stage. They have graduated to the main stage, where thousands of people will get to sing along to their euphoric brand of Americana and indie-folk. Audience participation will be required…

…but for SON LITTLE (1:15 PM, Harbor Stage) it will be fine to have your mouth agape during his performance. The project of Philadelphia native Aaron Earl Livingston, Son Little has rightfully earned a reputation as one of the foremost innovators in music today with his mastery of multiple genres. If this is the first time you’re hearing about Son Little, discover why The Roots, Mavis Staples, and many others have collaborated with him over the years. For that matter, do not be surprised to see many artists sitting side stage for his performance…

…and we anticipate the same will happen during JULIEN BAKER‘s (1:30, Quad Stage) set. The Memphis-based musician’s popularity has exploded this year thanks to her introspective stories and intimate indie folk/rock sound. She has been compared to everyone from Sharon Van Etten to Angel Olsen, but given her songwriting style maybe she should be compared to…

…the great and widely respected GLEN HANSARD (1:45, Fort Stage). The Irish singer-songwriter is making his first visit to the Festival in six years, performing new songs from his EP A Season On The Line. Hansard is also a masterful showman, so expect some humorous anecdotes to be sprinkled throughout this set. His serene ballads, however, are what people will come to hear, and they will have hearts fluttering on this hot afternoon…

…which a fellow Irishman, Conor O’Brien – a.k.a. VILLAGERS (2:25, Harbor Stage) – will also be doing around the same time. His endearing folk music is reminiscent of The Tallest Man on Earth – warm, personal, and at times breathtaking, uplifting, and often simultaneously all of the above. His set could very well be the surprise performance for many, where people will stop dead in their tracks to hear what he has to share…

…kind of like what PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND (2:45, Quad Stage) has been doing for decades. For years, the New Orleans-based collective were only known within jazz circles. Over the past decade, however, they have drawn the attention of musicians and music fans from other genres through their collaborations with Tom Waits, My Morning Jacket, Arcade Fire, Foo Fighters, Andrew Bird, Dr. John, Pete Seeger, and many others. Now, PHJB are akin to the house band at many festivals, including being a huge favorite of the Newport scene…

…a phrase we could apply to MIDDLE BROTHER (3:10, Fort Stage). Comprised of Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes, and Delta Spirit’s Matt Vasquez (who played the Quad Stage on Friday), the trio have adopted an old-school rock ‘n roll sound that is toe-tapping, hand-clapping fun. Their show likely will be the most energetic and even frenetic of the entire festival, drawing in thousands of locals to see the “supergroup”…

…but those looking for a more calm, relaxing environment will be settling in for HAYES CARLL‘s set (3:40, Harbor Stage). Considered to be one of Houston’s finest singer-songwriters, Carll’s alt-country style and honest, often tough lyrics immediately bring to mind Jason Isbell. While popular within songwriting circles, Carll could be among the breakout performers of the Festival…

…as could PHIL COOK (4:05, Quad Stage). Most people know Cook for his work as a member of Megafaun and with Justin Vernon in DeYarmond Edison. As a solo artist, however, he has flown under the radar despite releasing two great albums that have had many acknowledge him as America’s next great singer-songwriter. On this day, he will be joined by The Blind Boys of Alabama and Sylvan Esso‘s Amelia Meath, which just further demonstrates the respect he has within the industry. His versatility and ability to paint great stories could make him the US’s version of Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen, or he could potentially be…

…the next ELVIS COSTELLO (4:40, Fort Stage). The iconic artist has left the Imposters at home and opted to take roots-rock sister duo LARKIN POE with him (note: Larkin Poe play the Museum Stage at 2:30). The three have played together in the past, going as far back as 2010, so expect a tight performance. The trio, though, are prone to ad-libbing on the spot, so expect a few surprises. It is, after all, Newport Folk Festival, where anything and everything is permitted…

…even putting a rock star like BRIAN FALLON (5:05, Harbor Stage) on the smallest stage. The Gaslight Anthem frontman’s solo work allows him to set aside the anthemic for the more intimate and summery rock ‘n roll and folk-rock of the ’70s and ’80s. The smooth and catchy melodies remain, but there is a blue-collar sensibility in his music a la John Mellencamp. For an hour, you will forget that he fronts a band with a gold record…

…of which EDWARD SHARPE AND THE MAGNETIC ZEROS (5:30, Quad Stage) have a couple plus a platinum-selling single (“Home”). Part of the initial wave of acts that helped bring Americana to the mainstream, the Los Angeles-based band will soon celebrate a decade as a band. To see them at the Quad Stage will be a treat because this band is selling out large venues, so take the opportunity to sing out loud and dance. If you do, maybe the band will come join you…

…and who knows who will join ALABAMA SHAKES (6:15, Fort Stage) when they close out the festival. When Brittany Howard, Heath Fogg, Zac Cockrell, and Steve Johnson first performed at NFF in 2012, they were everywhere. They were on stage collaborating with My Morning Jacket. They could be seen sitting stage side at nearly every possible show, acting like the paying costumers in awe of their heroes on stage. Now, they are the ones with whom artists wish to share the stage at Newport, and if that is not possible, flock to the rafters above the Fort Stage to watch them. Despite their meteoric rise, they remain humble and down to earth. Expect several surprises during their set, from covers (maybe a Pete Seeger tune?) to collaborators (we are betting Elvis Costello will make an appearance and possibly Glen Hansard, Jim James, Son Little, The Oh Hello’s, you name it).

Enjoy the final day of Newport Folk Festival!

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