So, yes, this has been a long-delayed post on the Folk Fest, and we greatly apologize. It’s intimidating to write up a festival with such a long and storied history, deep in tradition, and it’s also a long slog through at least a thousand photos as well. (And you see only a handful! Probably for the best.) We thank y’all for your patience, and wanted to start here, with a photo that we really love of Haley Hendrickx.
The Portland, OR-er started us off on the Harbor stage, and, in the true spirit of making lemonade from lemons, commented that “because it’s raining all the time [in Portland], we can stay in our basements and write lots of songs.” As we write this post, we realize that yes, it is raining outside, and we’re in the basement writing about lots of songs.
Too close to home, Haley. Too close, there.
In our last post, we also built up a certain soul singer by the name of Yola. We’ll get there yet, we’ll get there. But next we got to Devon Gilfillian’s band, a laid back psychedelic rock with a bit of Jimi Hendrix vibe (though we would’ve loved a taste of some Hendrix-style nutso solos). Alas, you can’t have it all.
Our next stop was the much-anticipated collaboration of Graham Nash’s 1971 album “Songs for Beginners.” This was an album that we’d never heard before, and to sit down and listen to the whole performance was all too tempting to do: except this set came off muddled and certainly not up to Newport’s standards. The artists involved were multitudinous, including Mountain Man, the Amy Ray Band and Lake Street Dive; in fact, the Tallest Man on Earth did a fantastic job here. But we were off-put by Colin Meloy’s number of “juicy notes,” so to speak, and Amy Ray was not on her top performance here. This set was a rare misfire for the Folk Fest, something that we can forgive given the context of the day’s end… and especially in the context of Sunday. So we unfortunately wound around to catch Susto and the other sights.
Fast-forward a bit. By the time we caught Maggie Rogers on the main stage, “Songs for Beginners” had well passed us by. We don’t usually groove to an ’80s vibe of music, but groove we did. Now here is a performer.
This young lady was perhaps the most energetic singer we caught at the Folk Fest. Perhaps ever. Most likely ever. She was a delight to catch live, parading across the stage so easily, and a total blast to shoot photos of her. Adjusting her mic wires, Rogers off-handedly noted, “I tend to just dance out of my audio equipment.” We guesstimate 1/4 joke, 3/4 serious.
Here, another photo of this pop-tastic performer:
Photogenic, yes? Jealousy mixes with admiration for this one.
We caught Dawes performing their debut LP, “North Hills,” on its 10th anniversary (so that would make it released in 2009, right?). Yola popped in for a fantastic performance of “When You Call My Name.” And halfway during the set, the all-female collaboration took place on the main stage.
We’re sorry Taylor Goldsmith! We had to catch the collaboration that finished out Saturday (and worth it it was). Hopping right from Dawes over to the main stage, here she is, ladies and otherfolks, soul sister Yola:
Yola is our new find in Newport. A beautiful voice, the kind that shakes the heavens, she and Rogers sang along with Sheryl Crow her 1993 song “Are You Strong Enough to Be My Man?” Yola emanates all kinds of soul, the kind of soul that rocks you to the core and makes you forget the world around you. But she’s not really “rock,” so forgive us for the wrong verb.
Next up was Linda Perry (aka the singer from 4 Non-Blondes), and… we’ll leave this link here. If you’ve never heard “What’s Up,” then you’ve probably never lived in the ’90s; we suggest you start with this song.
If you want some older music, we have a million places to start, but Judy Collins is as good a place as one can start. The ’60s legend was (really, is) a staunch supporter of women’s rights, deeply progressive, and, at 80, fiesty as f-. Here is Brandi Carlile deeply enjoying her company:
This collaboration of all female headlines was so packed, yeesh, we wonder what kind of metaphor can we come up with. Sardines in a tin? Clowns in a car? But these women are neither fish nor jokes, though they have a strong sense of humor. (Sorry, our words still escape us! Weak writing all around.)
Humor: which brings us to the closer of the day. Is there anything we can say about her? Let’s test you: she wrote “I Will Always Love You.” No, not her, but close-ish. She’s very self-deprecating, and jokes about her several plastic surgeries. Idea yet? She also was angry at “Jolene.” Okay, maybe you have her in mind now.
Here is our delightful highlight of the set that was the highlight of the day. Welcome to Newport, Ms. Dolly Parton.
We had no idea (this is how educated we are) that Parton wrote “9 to 5,” a song that we love and adore and totally sticks in our head. (It will stick in yours, which is why we linked y’all to it.) Yes, she wrote “I Will Always Love You,” a country tune that Whitney Houston made rather famous, we’ve been told. She was the absolute highlight of the day (a close call with Brandi Carlile’s exuberance), and perhaps a contender for the whole weekend with a certain green fellow on Sunday.
Thank all y’all for stopping by! We hope you enjoyed the pictures, the brief recap, and the music most of all. We’ve got a little more to wrap out our Newport coverage, so stay tuned,