Festivals, Newport Folk Festival, The Revue — July 29, 2018 at 7:00 am

Newport Folk Festival 2018 – Day Three Guide

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Two days are in the books, and Saturday was a typical Newport Folk Festival day – from the music, to the surprises, to the unpredictable and temperamental weather. And ten thousand festival goers won’t hesitate to do it all again today!

The final day is once again filled with conflicts, so if you need a hand check out our Newport Folk Festival 2018 – Day Two Guide , which also offers some quick summaries of each of the two dozen artists and bands. Since WiFi is at a premium and mobile coverage is iffy at best, we’ve also included PDF and Microsoft Word attachments in case you want to print this out (note the attachments are for all three days but each day is easy to parcel out).

The NFF 2018 app is still the place to see the entire schedule (download options here). In addition, we highly recommend that you connect with the Festival on social media to get all the latest news, developments, and updates on who is unexpectedly performing.

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NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL 2018 – THE FULL GUIDE – Word

NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL 2018 – THE FULL GUIDE – PDF

 

Like Friday and Saturday, Day Three commences with the popular Open Mic (10:00 AM, Museum), which allows aspiring musicians to strut their stuff and receive some pointers. Once upon a time, Mt Davidson and his band mates– a.k.a. Twain (11:00, Harbor) – were dreaming of touring the world and performing at one of the most prestigious festivals in the world. Here they are, proving that dreams do come true if one puts in the thousands of hours of work and releasing one of 2017’s most stunning albums in Rare Feeling. You’ll be moved by his music, stories, and incredible voice…

…and on this Sunday morning the presence of Michael Trotter, Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter’s project The War and Treaty (11:05, Quad) will elicit different emotions. Specifically, they will lift everyone’s spirits and clean our souls with their roots and gospel blend. It will only take about 30 seconds for everyone under the tent to feel their power and succumb to it, allowing the duo to take us to the musical promised land. Get ready to shake your hips, clap your hands, and build up a little sweat…

..which certainly will be on order during The Sunday Groove Featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band (11:15, Fort). Over the past five years, the great New Orleans collective have become NFF’s house band with their booming and energetic brand of jazz and engaging personalities. This time slot, meanwhile, has been reserved for them the last four years. If the past is any indication, Pres Hall will guide the procession on a fifty-minute cardio workout with 86-year old saxophone and clarinet player, the always smiling Charlie Gabriel, leading the way…

…but if you prefer something low-key and more intimate then Kiki Cavazos (11:30, Museum) is a must-see. It’s not just because the confines of the Museum will be more relaxing, but the Montana native will take you back to the 1920s Mississippi delta with her throwback bluegrass and folk style. Harmonica, steel guitar, and a classic voice that has an air of Patsy Cline, and Cavazos will be one of the artists that festival-goes will be telling their friends all about long NFF is over…

…while Jen Cloher (12:05, Harbor) needs no introduction. Well, the long-time Melbourne-based artist really should not because she is only one of Australia’s best and most decorated singer-songwriters. She can rock hard with the best of in the industry or tone things down and turn into Joni Mitchell. Which version she will reveal on this afternoon is a mystery, but she is guaranteed to grab everyone’s attention with her music and deeply personal and emotional stories. For those first discovering Cloher, they’ll get to understand why The Guardian called her 2017 self-titled album “a slow-burning masterpiece from a first-class songwriter”...

…and one of 2018’s masterpieces is Khruangbin‘s (12:15, Quad) Con Todo El Mundo. An early favorite for album of the year, Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums) infuse the sounds of the Middle East with groovy and dreamy Western psych-rock textures. Vocals are limited in their music, but there is no need for them when the music is as mesmerizing and enchanting as what the London-based trio create. They are, in other words, the snake charmers of the music world, transfixing and captivating all those who get close to their exotic sounds…

…whereas Michael David Rosenberg – a.k.a. Passenger (12:30, Fort) – serenades his audiences with moving dream-folk tunes and moving folk-pop ballads. Despite his fame, the former busker remains a humbled individual, often engaging the crowd and telling light-hearted, personal stories. People come, however, for his songs, which often take on the tone of a fairy tale and other times a myth coming to life. In some respects, his own life is a myth that is now the hallmarks of a legend…

…whereas the worldly traveler Becca Mancari (12:35, Museum) is an unknown legend for now. For those who have already had the privilege to hear her sing and experience the journeys and lessons that fill her stories, they know that the Nashville-based artist has the chance to be as popular and influential as Sharon Van Etten, Lucius, and Beach House. This isn’t just name-dropping – Mancari combines all these great artists’ gifts into one individual, crafting widescreen, dreamy soundscapes and emotionally moving tales. The Museum isn’t big enough to hold her expansive sound, but seeing her in this intimate setting will be an experience to behold…

…and likewise when the Tamara Lindeman-led outfit The Weather Station (1:15, Harbor) gather on the adjacent stage. Their participation at NFF is a long-awaited and much-deserved one, as the Toronto-based band have been wowing critics for a decade. Their 2017 self-titled album was their breakthrough, as it was celebrated around the world. Exclaim! called it “Lindeman’s loosest, most confident album yet, but it may also prove to be her most deeply psychological”. As Lindeman reveals her soul on this Sunday afternoon, expect an appreciative audience to honor her with continuous applause and salute her for her perseverance and achievements…

…while on the other side of the wall guitar fanatics and Wilco fans will be assembling to see Nels Cline‘s Curtis Rogers Memorial Resonator Excursion (1:30, Quad). Details on this special event are scant, but the guess is that Cline will be armed with a couple of dozen guitars and joined on stage by other guitar gods. Together, they’ll jam for nearly an hour and tell stories about the first time they picked up a twelve-string. Well, that’s what we think will happen. It’s also possible this will be a show-and-tell performance, where Cline shares his huge collection of quirky guitars. Goes without saying that such an event is one to see …

…as is the Cordovas(1:40, Museum) performance. Although they come from the Nashville, don’t shrug them off and think they’re just another typical, Music City band. There are few – if any – groups who sound like the quintet. Their blend of Americana, roots-rock, and classic rock with hints of psychedelia will have old-school Deadheads smiling just as much as their hipster grandkids, which describes Newport Folk Festival’s demographic. In other words, this is one of the shows on the program that will bring older and younger music fans together…

…and so will The Lone Bellow (1:50, Fort). After shooting to immediate indie stardom with the release of their self-titled debut album in 2011, the trio, unlike other Americana and indie-folk bands, have not rested on their laurels. They continue to evolve as musicians and songwriters, wading into darker and more mystical environments to complement their uplifting and boisterous anthems and melodic ballads. As a result, they’ve become favorites of the Festival collectively and individually, which means a few surprise appearances (cough *** Brandi Carlile *** cough). It also means their performance will at times feel like one big campfire sign-a-long and other times a family gathering with arms linked together…

…meanwhile, Nicole Atkins(2:25, Harbor) second performance of the Festival will feel like the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. This isn’t because she’ll be covering other people’s songs, like she’ll do on Saturday. On the contrary, she’ll be sharing all original music, which has been influenced by pop-noir, classic country-folk, vintage soul and R&B, and neo-psychedelia. Her show, as such, will be like seeing ten performances all at once, especially if she plays a lot from her excellent 2017 album, Goodnight Rhonda Lee, which landed on several year-end lists (including our own). To truly appreciate her talent, however, one must see her live…

…which also holds true when it comes to the king of “dad country” Jonny Fritz (2:45, Museum). Previously known as Johnny Corndawg, Fritz is another of a long line of Newport favorites thanks to his quirky and imaginative take of alternative country rock and support from Deer Tick, Dawes, and Alabama Shakes. At one point, he and his talented band will take you to the barn dances that filled up each weekend in the deep south and another moment he’s swinging a rollicking tune made for the saloons of the Wild West. But people gravitate to Fritz’s music because he is one of the great storytellers of his generation. He’s one part Seth MacFarlane and another part Spike Jonze, where his imagination knows no bounds …

…whereas Toots and The Maytals (2:45, Quad) have long been breaking new ground with their summertime reggae. Entering their sixth decade as, this is the one opportunity to see living legends on stage and be reminded what it was like to live in Jamaica in the ’60s and ’70s. The massive collective, however, have not stayed stagnant nor have they relegated themselves to being a legacy band. On the contrary, they’ve expanded their approach to infuse funk, Motown, and vintage soul elements, making some of their songs sound like they were born in Harlem or Detroit. That said, they’re still a reggae band who will bring the sweet grooves and heat…

…just like Gary Clark, Jr. (3:15, Fort) will be on the big stage, but he does these things with his fiery blues-rock. One of the 21st Century’s great guitarists – if not preeminent guitarist – Clark, Jr. has been compared to every great. Hendrix, Santana, Vaughn, Beck, Page, Berry, Prince, you name it and he’s been mentioned alongside them. The Austin native, though, isn’t a one-trick pony, as he’s become a gifted songwriter in the Buddy Guy mould. From social and political issues to sharing his own personal struggles and demons to discussing faith, Clark, Jr. covers it all. He is, as such, the complete package…

…as is folk, country, and bluegrass artist Charlie Parr (3:40, Harbor). One of the great finger-picking guitar players of his generation and a songwriter from the John Prine school, the Minnesota native remains one of music’s most underappreciated and underrated artists. But those in the know realize that the self-described “hobo” has the rare gift of occupying an immense stage and commanding everyone’s attention. And he does this while seated, picking at his guitar, and sharing his stories about an ordinary guy’s life in the ever-changing land called America…

…and Joe Purdy (3:50, Museum) is an all-American singer-songwriter who likewise prefers his emotional and powerful stories to do the talking. There aren’t many special bells and whistles in Purdy’s music (maybe the occasional strings accompaniment) nor overdriven guitars, which speaks to his special talent. His 2016 album, Who Will Be Next?, is considered to be an American classic, as he tackles issues of racism, hate, and violence in the US. The record is comparable to Dylan’s When The Times They Are A-Changin’, one that captures history through music and will long be remembered as one of the decade’s most important and necessary

…and should Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes, Becca Mancari, and Jesse Lafser continue to perform as Bermuda Triangle (4:10, Quad), they, too, could go down as one of country and folk music’s most celebrated and revered trios in history. Unlike their own projects, the threesome create low-key and intimate songs that are focused on gorgeous three-part harmonies and stories about being a woman and a stranger in today’s USA. While their tunes have a solemn vibe, there should be at least three memorable, jaw-gaping moments, just like there were when the last time a powerhouse, all-women trio last graced the Quad Stage (case/lang/viers)…

…while the powerhouse that is Brandi Carlile (4:45, Fort) will deliver unforgettable moments throughout her set. Her latest album, By the Way, I Forgive You, has been applauded far and wide, and her performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! left several mouths agape. Much of the same should occur on this late Sunday afternoon with thousands of people standing, clapping, and paralyzed in utter enchantment, particularly when she sings, “The Joke”, which is one of the songs of the year. This is a show not to be missed…

…although movie buffs and NFF historians will want to catch a viewing of Two Trains Runnin’ (5:00, Museum). Presented by newportFILM, the documentary presents how famous blues musicians from the 1930s ended up playing in the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. The film is sure to be a tear-jerker, highlighting the difficulties it was for many artists, particularly African-Americans, to be heard and seen. Two Trains Runnin’, however, is more than just a musical journey or movie. It is also one that depicts the progress America has made and the challenges it still confronts today…

…which are subjects Langhorne Slim and The Lost at Last Band (5:05, Harbor) are unafraid to address in their music. In addition, the Americana phenomenon from Nashville is open in sharing his own struggles and personal demons, but Sean Scolnick does it in a way that is either uplifting and energizing or intimate and relateable. He’s not the preaching type, although when he takes the stage he does have the presence of the most eloquent and powerful orator. A presence that no individual can detach themselves from…

…unless they happen to be watching Glen Hansard (5:35, Quad). The Irish singer-songwriter is a living legend on both sides of the pond, dating back to his time with The Frames and then later The Swell Season. Although he’s mostly associated with folk music, Hansard showed on his last album, Between Two Shores, that he can create vintage rock ‘n roll. As such, he just might break out a guitar solo and go electric à la Dylan. Here’s also hoping for a few surprise collaborations (like Brandi Carlile and/or Brittany Andrews showing up for “Drive All Night”)…

…which will be plentiful at the closing set, A Change Is Gonna Come (6:15, Fort). The title is adapted from Sam Cooke’s posthumous hit of the same name. The legendary soul, gospel, and R&B singer wrote the song following Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, the latter which described a racist incident that Cooke experienced at a Shreveport, Louisiana hotel. So this final concert will involve dozens of artists who performed throughout the three days as well as unexpected and unannounced guests, and led by Jon Batiste with The Dap-Kings they will cover the great protest songs of the past (by the way, Mavis Staples is in the house). There is no better way to end one of the greatest festivals on the planet – bringing everyone together on and around a single stage to promote positive change. And this is what makes Newport Folk Festival so special and why ten thousand people from across the globe return each year.

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