Newport Folk 2018 Preview

Most of today’s significant American music festivals barely date back past the turn of the century. Newport Folk Festival, on the other hand, stretches back to the fifties and...
Newport Folk

Newport Folk 2018 Preview

Most of today’s significant American music festivals barely date back past the turn of the century. Newport Folk Festival, on the other hand, stretches back to the fifties and has featured such iconic moments as Bob Dylan going electric. It returns to Rhode Island, Friday-to-Sunday, July 27th-29th:



Fort Stage

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, 6:15 PM – 7:30 PM

Maybe still best known for his work in Drive-By Truckers (QRO album review, post-Isbell), since driving off in 2008 Isbell (QRO photos at a festival) has been focused on his solo work (QRO photos solo at a festival) with his own 400 Unit, behind last year’s The Nashville Sound.
Jason Isbell
Sturgill Simpson, 4:40 PM – 5:45 PM

Though his sound is closer to traditional country, because Sturgill Simpson (QRO photos at a festival) operates his own label outside of the Nashville country music business, he’s labeled ‘alt-country’. Last year he won the Grammy for ‘Best Country Album’ (and nominated for ‘Album of the Year’) with A Sailor’s Guide to Earth. He returns to Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15).
Sturgill Simpson
Lucius, 3:10 PM – 4:10 PM

The New York Times once described Lucius (QRO photos outdoors) as “The next Feist” – even if you don’t believe everything The Grey Lady says, be sure to check them out as they come back to Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’14), behind this year’s Nudes.
Margo Price, 1:15 PM – 2:40 PM

The Fader once called Margo Price (QRO photos at a festival) “country’s next star,” and she’s increasingly becoming it. There’s not a better place to find that out than at Newport Folk, which she returns to after last year’s big and powerful All American Made.
Margo Price
JD McPherson, 12:35 PM – 1:25 PM

Oklahoma native JD McPherson (QRO photos) is best known for channeling the fifties rockabilly of Little Richard & Fats Domino, but actually draws from as wide as Wu-Tang Clan and Pixies.
JD McPherson

Fantastic Negrito, 11:20 AM – 12:10 PMQRO photos outdoors

Fantastic Negrito

Quad Stage

St. Vincent, 5:40 PM – 6:45 PM

After the one-and-only Annie Clark (QRO interview) made 2007 her break-out year, both as part of The Polyphonic Spree on The Fragile Army (QRO review) and with her own debut as St. Vincent (QRO photos), Marry Me (QRO review), she followed that up with even-better years (QRO spotlight on), gracing festivals (QRO photos at a festival), charming and surprising crowds with winning humor live (QRO live review), and bringing a stable of new songs (QRO live review). Those new songs, like “Laughing With a Mouth of Blood” (QRO video) and “Actor Out of Work” (QRO video) formed into 2009’s Actor (QRO review), which vaunted her into the even bigger time (QRO photos at a festival), including playing Lincoln Center (QRO live review) and other storied concert halls (QRO photos at a festival) & venues (QRO photos at Royal Albert Hall).

Admittedly, 2011’s Strange Mercy (QRO review) wasn’t quite as good, but then she teamed up with the one-and-only David Byrne (QRO photos at a festival together) for 2012′s Love This Giant (QRO review), and the holy St. Vincent (QRO photos) came back with a vengeance in 2014 on St. Vincent (QRO review), including an absolutely stellar live show (QRO photos), with her platinum grey hair and mannequin moves shining outdoors (QRO live review outdoors), at festivals (QRO photos at a festival) and in the Old World (QRO live review in Europe). A must-see at Newport Folk (QRO photos at a festival), she comes behind last year’s massively seductive MASSEDUCTION (QRO review) and seductive stage show (QRO photos at a 2018 festival).
St. Vincent
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite, 4:10 PM – 5:10 PM

It was a bit of a slow burn for Ben Harper (QRO photos at a festival), whose mixture of skilled guitar, vocals, and activism first hit it big in Europe (QRO photos in Europe) and especially Australia, before he really boomed in his native States (QRO photos in America). But boom he did, hitting the Billboard Top Ten with his band Relentless7 – not to mention appearing with Will Ferrell, ZZ Top, and Conan O’Brien on his last Tonight Show. He’s done other great team-ups, like with Joseph Arthur & Dhani Harrison as Fistful of Mercy (QRO photos), and with legendary bluesman Charlie Musselwhite on this year’s No Mercy In This Land and at Newport Folk (QRO photos together at a festival).
Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite

Glorietta, 2:40 PM – 3:40 PM

Tyler Childers, 1:25 PM – 2:15 PM

Amanda Shires, 11:10 AM – 11:50 AMQRO photos

Amanda Shires

Harbor Stage

The Wood Brothers, 5:10 PM – 6:15 PM

Chris & Oliver Wood, plus Jano Rix, form the American siblings The Wood Brothers.
The Wood Brothers
Rachael & Vilray, 3:45 PM – 4:40 PM

Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive (QRO photos at a festival) teams up with Vilray to play interwar pop music as Rachael & Vilray.
Rachael & Vilray
Moses Sumney, 2:25 PM – 3:30 PM

Ghana-by-way-of-America Moses Sumney (QRO photos at a festival) combines styles. He comes to Newport Folk behind last year’s debut full-length, Aromanticism.
Moses Sumney
This Is the Kit, 1:10 PM – 2:00 PM

BBC Radio favorite This Is the Kit (QRO photos at a festival) comes to Newport Folk behind last year’s Moonshine Freeze.
This Is the Kit

Sidi Touré, 12:05 PM – 12:45 PM

Darlingside, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM

Sidi Touré

Museum Stage

Jonathan Tyler, 6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Jonathan Tyler has opened for seemingly every great American blues-rock outfit, and plays Newport Folk twice (see below).
Jonathan Tyler
Paul Cauthen, 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Country preacher turned American musician Paul Cauthen comes to Newport Folk behind this year’s Have Mercy.
Paul Cauthen
John Fullbright, 5:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Of course Grammy nominated NPR favorite John Fullbright is playing Newport Folk.
John Fullbright
Butch Walker, 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

The American rock of Butch Walker (QRO photos) knows how to Stay Gold. And he wins extra points for “Synthesizer”, which both bemoaned how everyone else is using synths, and whose video featured Matthew McConaughey revisiting his first & greatest character, Wooderson. Alright, alright, alright…
Butch Walker
Jack Ingram, 4:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Jack Ingram started back in the early nineties, but it wasn’t until 2005 that he broke through with his country hit “Whatever You Are”.  He’s since followed that up with songs such as “Maybe She’ll Get Lonely” & “Barefoot and Crazy’.
Jack Ingram
The Band of Heathens, 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Austenites Colin Brooks, Ed Jurdi & Gordy Quist originally just shared a stage to serve as each other’s backing band, but by 2008 as The Band of Heathens they had one of the Top Ten most played Americana records on the radio.
The Band of Heathens
The Autumn Defense, 2:05 PM – 3:05 PM

Begun as a side-project by John Stirratt of Newport ’17 headliner Wilco (QRO photos at Newport ’17), The Autumn Defense (QRO spotlight on) have become something much more since recruiting Wilco multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone (QRO interview with both). Their sound (QRO live review) is so sweet that it doesn’t need to rock, like most recently with 2014’s Fifth (QRO review).
The Autumn Defense
Erika Wennerstrom, 1:00 PM – 1:45 PM

Heartless Bastards (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15) frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom (QRO photos) returns to Newport Folk solo behind her new album, Sweet Unknown (QRO review).
Erika Wennerstrom

Courtney Marie Andrews, 12:00 PM – 12:40 PM

Johnny Irion, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM

Open Mic, 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Johnny Irion




Fort Stage

Unannounced, 6:15 PM – 7:30 PM

Courtney Barnett, 4:40 PM – 5:45 PM

Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett (QRO photos at a festival) won fans like Rolling Stone and New York Times after her CMJ 2013 performance (QRO festival recap), with funny, rambling lyrics and a deadpan delivery (QRO photos). Since then she’s just gone and won fans outside of just critics with 2015 debut full-length, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, last year’s team up with Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Live, and this year’s Tell Me How You Really Feel, as well as playing a ton of festivals (QRO photos at recent festival). She returns to Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15).
Courtney Barnett
Shakey Graves, 3:10 PM – 4:10 PM

Shakey Graves (QRO photos at a festival) is the post-folk alter ego of Austin’s Alejandro Rose-Garcia (QRO photos), who comes back to Newport Folk with an extra ‘e’.
Shakey Graves
Valerie June, 1:50 PM – 2:40 PM

From the hills of Tennessee, Valerie June (QRO photos a festival) was first exposed to music in the church, and expanded her sound into roots-folk and blues while in Memphis, where she was featured on MTV’s $5 Cover, which explored struggling artists in Memphis. That led to the self-releasing artist finally getting a record deal for 2013’s Pushin’ Against the Stone, which featured several songs co-written with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. She comes to Newport Folk behind last year’s follow-up, The Order of Time.
Valerie June
Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM

Rivaling Sean Lennon and Jakob Dylan in fatherly shadows to get out of, Willie Nelson’s own son Lukas (QRO photos of them together at the elder Wilson’s 80th birthday celebration) has established his own country name with his band, Promise of the Real (QRO live review).
Lukas Nelson

Curtis Harding, 11:20 AM – 12:05 PMQRO photos

Curtis Harding

Quad Stage

Cheech & Chong, 5:30 PM – 6:35 PM

Cheech & Chong are coming to Newport Folk!?! The inventors of ‘stoner comedy’ are still the greatest, going Up In Smoke for almost fifty years now. The Springfield, USA natives did have a split when Homer Simpson took over duties as one-half of the classics ‘Cheech & Chunk’ (and Seymour Skinner as one-half of the more experimental ‘Teach & Chong’), but quickly reunited. Individually, they’ve done everything from That 70’s Show to Nash Bridges, and not so incidentally helped bring Latino comedy to the wider world. But is Dave here?…
Cheech & Chong
Jenny Lewis, 4:05 PM – 5:00 PM

If you like alternative music in the twenty-first century, chances are you already know Jenny Lewis (QRO photos). The former child star came to the music scene co-fronting Los Angeles’ Rilo Kiley (QRO album review) in the prior decade (QRO photos), before going solo with Rabbit Fur Coat and 2008’s Acid Tongue (QRO review). In 2010 she teamed up with boyfriend Jonathan Rice as Jenny & Johnny (QRO photos at a festival) for I’m Having Fun Now (QRO review). For 2013, she reprised one of her many guest vocalist roles (others have included with Elvis Costello & Conor Oberst – QRO live review together) on the reunion tour of indietronica all-stars Postal Service (QRO photos) behind the tenth anniversary edition of the ultra-acclaimed Give Up (QRO review). For her own return to Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ‘14), however, she comes to shine all on her own (QRO photos solo at a festival), with 2014’s The Voyager (QRO review).
Jenny Lewis
Beneath the Sacred Mountain, 2:40 PM – 3:35 PM

‘Beneath the Sacred Mountain’ is a cosmic American revue featuring the likes of Eric D. Johnson, The Spacebomb House Band, Phil Cook, Josh Kaufman, Matthew E. White, and more.
Beneath the Sacred Mountain
Tank & The Bangas, 1:25 PM – 2:15 PM

Winner of last year’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert Contest, Tank & The Bangas (QRO photos at a festival) have bounded onto the scene (QRO photos at a festival) with a lively mix of funk, soul, hip-hop, rock and spoken word (QRO photos).
Tank & The Bangas
Hiss Golden Messenger, 12:15 PM – 1:00 PM

Hiss Golden Messenger (QRO photos at a festival) has had a few lineup changes – it’s now a full group (QRO photos at a festival) led by M.C. Taylor and Scott Hirsch with a rotating band featuring members of Bon Iver, Megafaun and Mountain Man. The lush sound and introspective lyrics never feel overwrought and it’s in a live setting where the band really shines (QRO photos at a festival).
Hiss Golden Messenger
Low Cut Connie, 11:10 AM – 11:50 AM

Catch the high-energy rock of Low Cut Connie (QRO photos at a festival), who comes to Newport Folk behind last year’s Dirty Pictures (Part 1).

Low Cut Connie

Harbor Stage

Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam, 5:00 PM – 6:05 PM

The ‘wise old men’ of the Brooklyn indie scene had long been The Walkmen (QRO live review), who virtually invented it. They were such staples that, of course, they had to go on an “extreme hiatus” in 2013, with various members starting various other projects. Frontman/singer Hamilton Leithauser stepped into solo shoes with 2014 solo release Black Hours (QRO review), though he’s since done team-ups, 2015’s Dear God with The Walkmen’s Paul Maroon, and 2016’s I Had a Dream That You Were Mine with Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmangli (QRO photos at a festival). Together, Hamilton + Rostam come to Newport Folk.
Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam
Colter Wall, 3:40 PM – 4:30 PM

Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Colter Wall comes south of the border to Newport Folk.
Colter Wall
Phoebe Bridgers, 2:25 PM – 3:15 PM

Last year, Phoebe Bridgers had a top record in Stranger in the Alps (QRO Top Albums of 2017), and now comes to Newport Folk (QRO photos at a festival).
Phoebe Bridgers

Daniel Norgren, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

Bedouine, 12:05 PM – 12:50 PM

Caamp, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM


Museum Stage

Lula Wiles & Valerie Mindel, 5:30 PM – 6:15 PM

JP Harris & Patrick Haggerty, 4:50 PM – 5:25 PM

Matt the Electrician & Chris Smither, 4:05 PM – 4:45 PM

Jonathan Tyler & Ramsay Midwood, 3:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Laura Viers, 2:15 PM – 3:05 PMQRO photos at a festival

Nicole Atkins Digs Other People’s Music, 1:10 PM – 1:55 PM – (QRO spotlight on)

Zane Campbell, 12:05 PM – 12:50 PM

Kaia Kater, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM

Open Mic, 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Jonathan Tyler

Laura Viers




Fort Stage

A Change Is Gonna Come, 6:15 PM – 7:30 PM

Jon Batiste, bandleader on Late Show with Stephen Colbert and of Stay Human (QRO photos at a Newport ’15), and The Dap-Kings, the band of the late Sharon Jones (QRO live review), lead this revival of civil rights era music.
A Change Is Gonna Come
Brandi Carlile, 4:45 PM – 5:45 PM

Singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile (QRO interview) has emerged alongside a whole new generation of socially minded melodic songstresses (QRO photos), and in 2015 she (QRO spotlight on) put out her latest (QRO photos outdoors), The Firewatcher’s Daughter. Carlile returns to Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15).
Brandi Carlile
Gary Clark Jr., 3:15 PM – 4:15 PM

Austin’s Gary Clark Jr. (QRO photos at a festival in Austin) is the latest artist to be said to be ‘bringing blues back’ – when did it ever leave? And if it did, it’s surely come back many times since then (just look at Jack White…) – but Clark (QRO live review) is certainly keeping it going, like on Austin City Limits (QRO live review on ACL) and the recent season of Marvel’s Luke Cage.
Gary Clark Jr.
The Lone Bellow, 1:50 PM – 2:45 PM

Zach Williams’ wife suffered temporary paralysis following or horseback riding accident, with which he responded by learning to play guitar – and has made it far enough to form his own band, The Lone Bellow (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), who return to Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15).
The Lone Bellow

Passenger, 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM

The Sunday Groove featuring Preservation Hall Jazz Band, 11:15 AM – 12:05 PM

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Quad Stage

Glen Hansard, 5:35 PM – 6:35 PM

Glen Hansard came to international prominence when he started in the much-beloved Once, which brought the Irish street performer to a whole new level. He teamed up with Once co-star & then-girlfriend Markéta Irglová as The Swell Season (QRO photos outdoors), but since their break-up has made his own solo name (QRO live review), most recently with this year’s Between Two Shores (QRO review) and 2016’s Didn’t He Ramble (QRO review). He returns for his second Newport Folk in three years.
Glen Hansard
Bermuda Triangle, 4:10 PM – 5:05 PM

Catch the modern country-folk of Bermuda Triangle – as long as you don’t get lost…
Bermuda Triangle
Toots & The Maytals, 2:45 PM – 3:40 PM

Before there was reggae, there was ska. Before there was Bob Marley & The Wailers, there was Toots & The Maytals (QRO live review). The group broadened Jamaican ska into rock steady and eventually reggae – and are still going strong these many, many years later (QRO photos at a festival). They were even the musical guests when Donald Trump hosted Saturday Night Live in 2004 – and were the subject of a hilarious parody when he returned to host in 2016.
Toots & The Maytals
Nels Cline’s Curtis Rogers Memorial Resonator Excursion, 1:30 PM – 2:15 PM

Newport ’17 headliner Wilco (QRO photos at Newport ’17) guitarist Nels Cline (QRO photos) is pretty much one of the greatest guitarists around right now – just witness his impossibly good solo on “Impossible Germany”. At Newport Folk he brings his “Curtis Rogers Memorial Resonator Excursion”.
Nels Cline
Khruangbin, 12:15 PM – 1:00 PM

Houston’s Khruangbin (QRO photos) draw from all over the world, Spain to the Middle East to Thailand.


The War and Treaty, 11:05 AM – 11:50 AM


Harbor Stage

Langhorne Slim & The Lost at Last Band, 5:05 PM – 6:05 PM

Pennsylvania’s Langhorne Slim (QRO live review) rides with more of an upswing, most recently on last year’s Lost at Last Vol. 1 (QRO review), 2015’s The Spirit Moves (QRO review), 2012’s The Way We Move (QRO review), 2009’s Be Set Free (QRO review), and his self-titled 2008 release (QRO review), so come to the “Rebel Side of Heaven” (QRO video) with Langhorne Slim (QRO photos) – and The Lost at Last Band (QRO photos). He returns to Newport Folk for his third time in four years (QRO photos at Newport ’16QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15).
Langhorne Slim
Charlie Parr, 3:40 PM – 4:35 PM

While he & his music are American, Duluth’s Charlie Parr has found particular appeal Down Under. He comes to Newport Folk behind last year’s Dog.
Charlie Parr
Nicole Atkins, 2:25 PM – 3:15 PM

While the hipsters may come from Brooklyn, Nicole Atkins (QRO interview) hails from Neptune City, New Jersey (QRO photos at a festival in New Jersey), which gave title to her first full-length (QRO review). After she split with her boyfriend & her major label, Atkins (QRO live review) landed on her feet in 2011 with Mondo Amore (QRO review). In 2014 she (QRO spotlight on) had a successful PledgeMusic campaign for Slow Phaser (QRO review), and Atkins (QRO live review) – who has since moved to much more Southern Nashville – did it again last year with Goodnight Rhonda Lee (QRO review). She plays twice in her second year at Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’17), also doing covers as “Digs Other People’s Music” (see above).
Nicole Atkins

The Weather Station, 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM

Jen Cloher, 12:05 PM – 12:50 PM

Twain, 11:00 AM – 11:40 AM

The Weather Station

Museum Stage

Two Trains Runnin’, 5:00 PM – 6:10 PM

Joe Purdy, 3:50 PM – 4:50 PM

Jonny Fritz, 2:45 PM – 3:30 PMQRO photos

Cordovas, 1:40 PM – 2:25 PM

Becca Mancari, 12:35 PM – 1:20 PMQRO photos

Kiki Cavazos, 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM

Open Mic, 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM
Joe Purdy

Jonny Fritz




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