Newport Folk Festival 2022 Preview

Even though there are a lot of music festivals, there’s none like Newport Folk. The iconic fest was where Bob “Judas” Dylan went electric in 1965, had ended &...
Newport Folk
Newport Folk

Even though there are a lot of music festivals, there’s none like Newport Folk. The iconic fest was where Bob “Judas” Dylan went electric in 1965, had ended & been revived twice, and by now is the gold standard for folk music festivals. After having to take 2020 off like everyone else in the world, it returned strong last year (QRO Newport Folk ’21 photos), and comes back to Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island, Friday-Sunday, July 22nd-24th:


FRIDAY, JULY 22nd

 

Courtney Barnett

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, 2018’s team-up with Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice and her own Tell Me How You Really Feel, and last year’s Things Take Time, Take Time as well as playing a ton of festivals (QRO photos at a festival). She returns to Newport Folk for a third time (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’18QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15).

Courtney Barnett
   

Dinosaur Jr

Back & better than ever is Dinosaur Jr (QRO spotlight on)! In the late eighties and early nineties, one of the biggest & best bands in the punk-grunge revolution was Dinosaur Jr (QRO live review), combining a hippie-punk ethos (and artwork) with feedback-driven guitar from the legendary J Mascis (QRO solo album review). The trio (QRO live review) was also characterized by Mascis’ controlling tendencies, leading to the departure first of bassist Lou Barlow (QRO spotlight on) for his Sebadoh (QRO live review) and eventually even beloved drummer Murph (QRO photos at a festival without Murph), with Mascis retiring the ‘Dinosaur Jr’ moniker in 1997.

But then the band reunited (QRO live review outdoors) – with original line-up! – to tour their re-release of old, Barlow-era records (QRO photos at a festival in St. LOUis). And they kept going (QRO photos at a festival), putting out new records that are some of their best yet, Beyond (QRO review), Farm (QRO review), I Bet On Sky (QRO review), 2016’s Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (QRO review), and last year’s Sweep It Into Space (QRO review). So revel in the glory (QRO photos at a festival) that is Dinosaur Jr (QRO ’21 live review), who know how to play festivals (QRO photos at a festival) – but bring your earplugs or you’ll “Feel the Pain” (QRO video), because J’s ‘circle of amps’ is a force to be reckoned with (QRO photos at a festival), as they come to Newport Folk (QRO photos at a festival) to make the “Sludgefest” (QRO video) a real “Freak Scene” (QRO video).

Dinosaur Jr
   

The Felice Brothers

The Catskills’ Felice Brothers (which includes both actual and honorary Felices – QRO spotlight on) have moved up from playing in subways stations (or, only slightly more up-market, for tips at Living Room – QRO live review) to becoming the go-to band (QRO live review outdoors) in today’s roots-revival with records like The Felice Brothers (QRO review) and Yonder Is the Clock (QRO review). After the departure of Simon Felice (QRO photos of reunion with him – and Conor Oberst) in 2009, the brothers Felice (James – QRO interview – and Ian – QRO interview – and more) took a break from touring (QRO photos at a festival) and recording, but returned with 2012’s Celebration, Florida (QRO review), where they changed-up their backwoods stomp for some sadder & even techier fare.

However, they’ve since returned to their own roots off with great albums like 2014’s Favorite Waitress (QRO review), 2016’s Life In the Dark (QRO review), 2019’s Undress (QRO review), & last year’s From Dreams To Dust (QRO review) – and still hit up favorite live staples like “Whiskey In My Whiskey” (QRO video), “Frankie’s Gun” (QRO video), “Love Me Tenderly” (QRO video), and “I’m Saved” (QRO video). The come back to Newport Folk for a fourth time (QRO photos at a festival).

The Felice Brothers
   

Lee Fields

Known for their soulful and R&B styled vignettes, Lee Fields & The Expressions is the collective from Brooklyn, NY (QRO photos outdoors in Brooklyn). Drawing inspirations from the likes of Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, and James Brown (QRO photos at James Brown celebration), it’s as if taking a trip down memory lane to the Motown Era. They have toured across the world so make sure to catch them at Newport Folk (QRO photos in California).

Lee Fields & The Expressions
   

Béla Fleck

One of the greatest banjo players of today, virtuoso Béla Fleck plays his fifth Newport Folk. After working with his own Flecktones (QRO photos at a festival) and teaming up with Abigail Washburn (QRO photos together), for Newport ’22 he’s doing ‘My Bluegrass Heart,’ featuring Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas & more.

Béla Fleck
   

Goose

From just over in Connecticut, jam festival mainstay Goose (QRO photos at a ’22 festival) hit Rhode Island at Newport Folk.

Goose
   

Japanese Breakfast

The solo project of Michelle Zauner (QRO photos at a festival), Japanese Breakfast (QRO photos outdoors) already brought Soft Sounds from Another Planet (QRO review) in 2017, and last year wowed the world with Jubilee (QRO review) and Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, including a wonderful return to touring (QRO 2021 photos) with her beautiful show, gong included (QRO photos at a ’22 festival). And she’s coming to Newport Folk after playing the season finale of Saturday Night Live!

Japanese Breakfast
   

Cassandra Jenkins

A graduate of Rhode Island’s own beautiful School of Design, Brooklyn’s Cassandra Jenkins (QRO photos in New York) comes back to the Ocean State behind last year’s sophomore full-length, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature.

Cassandra Jenkins
   

John Moreland

Tulsa’s John Moreland (QRO photos at Middle America festival) has been making great albums for years now (QRO photos) – none other than Rachel Maddow said, “If the American music business made any sense, guys like John Moreland would be household names.” He comes back to Newport in the run-up to the release of his latest, Birds In the Ceiling.

John Moreland
   

The National

Cincinnati-by-way-of-Brooklyn’s The National (QRO photos outdoors) hit it big in 2007 with Boxer (QRO review) and tracks like “Fake Empire”, “Mistaken For Strangers”, and “Apartment Story” (QRO video) – and again in 2008 with the Virginia EP (QRO review), but that just presaged 2011’s High Violet (QRO review), which debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts (QRO expanded edition review). An impressive and much-in-demand act (QRO live review), they’re fitting in nicely as even festival headliner (QRO photos headlining a festival) or curator (QRO photos curating a festival), like at London’s All Tomorrow’s Parties (QRO photos), Eaux Claires (QRO photos at Eaux Claires ‘15), or Boston Calling (QRO photos at Boston Calling ‘14).

Blown up to the point that New York Times Magazine ran a feature on them (QRO spotlight on) & Obama used (a family-friendly) bit of “Mr. November” (QRO video at a festival) as a campaign song, The National (QRO photos at a festival) returned from an hiatus in 2013 to take North America by storm (QRO photos headlining a festival) behind Trouble Will Find Me (QRO review), after having done so in Europe (QRO photos in Europe), the festival circuit (QRO photos at a festival), the European festival circuit (QRO photos at a European festival), Canada (QRO photos at a festival in Canada), Croatia (QRO photos at a Croatian festival), Singapore (QRO photos in Singapore) & their own Brooklyn (QRO photos in Brooklyn), plus both Barcelona’s Primavera Sound (QRO photos at Primavera Sound) and Portugal’s NOS Primavera Sound (QRO photos at NOS Primavera Sound). They’ve since keep it going (QRO photos in 2014), including headlining American festivals (QRO photos headlining an American festival).

In 2017, The National (QRO live review) released yet another amazing album, Sleep Well Beast (QRO review), which won the Grammy for Alternative Album of the Year (QRO live review at Grammy party), and in 2019 came out with I Am Easy To Find (QRO review) and another big tour (QRO live review in ’19). They finally come to Newport Folk (QRO photos at a festival), after having to cancel 2020, with an electric live show (QRO live review), making for a perfect headliner (QRO photos at a festival).

The National
   

The Silk Road Ensemble

Initiated by none other than Yo-Yo Ma, SilkRoad promotes collaborations across cultures, and formed The Silk Road Ensemble, a rotating cast of musicians who’ve played from the history Central Asian Silk Road to everywhere else, coming to Newport Folk with Rhiannon Giddens (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’17).

The Silk Road Ensemble
   

Taj Mahal

Of course, Newport Folk would bring some artists from its earlier decades, such as blues redefiner Taj Mahal, who’s played the fest in 1968, 1988 & more.

Taj Mahal
   

Also:

The A’s

Arooj Aftab

Carm

John Craigie

The Dead Tongues

Leith Ross

Taj Mahal

 

 

SATURDAY, JULY 23rd

 

beabadoobee

Filipino-British beabadoobee (QRO photos) built up her own following with five self-released EPs, bringing her (QRO photos) to her successful debut full-length, 2020’s Fake It Flowers, and a slew of ‘next big thing’ awards that she’s been living up to (QRO live review), including at festivals (QRO photos at a ’22 festival).

beabadoobee
   

The Backseat Lovers

Utah’s Backseat Lovers (QRO live review) make like Mitt Romney and come to New England (or did he go the other way around?).

The Backseat Lovers
   

Bleachers

Once upon a time just the guitarist from fun. (QRO live review), Jack Antonoff launched his own indie-pop side-project, Bleachers (QRO photos at a festival) that has quickly become his ‘main’ gig – when he’s not producing pop hits for the likes of Taylor Swift, Lorde (QRO Antonoff-produced album review), St. Vincent (QRO Antonoff-produced album review) & more. He returns to Newport Folk for a second year in a row (QRO photos at ’21 Newport Folk), behind last year’s Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night (QRO review).

Bleachers
   

Bonny Light Horseman & Friends

A folk supergroup of fellow Newport Folk ’22 performer Anaïs Mitchell (see below), Eric D. Johnson of Fruit Bats (QRO photos at Newport Folk ‘21), and Josh Kaufman of Hiss Golden Messenger (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’21) and fellow Newport ’21 performer The National (see above), Bonny Light Horseman (QRO ’22 photos) come back to their third Newport Folk in a row (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’21), to play Billy Bragg & Wilco’s team-up putting music behind Woody Guthrie’s previously unheard lyrics, Mermaid Ave. Vol 1, with friends.

Bonny Light Horseman
   

Clairo

Boston electro-pop artist Claire Cotrill (QRO photos at a festival) first got notice at just age seventeen with lo-fi single “Pretty Girl”, earning her a record deal, and she’s delivered two critical & commercial successes in 2019’s Immunity (QRO photos in 2019) and last year’s Sling, whose tour (QRO live review in 2022) she brings to Newport Folk (QRO photos at a ’21 festival).

Clairo
   

Lucy Dacus

Norfolk’s Lucy Dacus (QRO photos) has found lots of new fans during the COVID pandemic, like her fellow members of boygenius, Phoebe Bridgers & Julien Baker (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’21QRO photos at Newport Folk ‘19). She comes to Newport Folk (QRO photos at a festival) behind last year’s amazing Home Video (QRO review) and finally putting out her single “Thumbs” (QRO review).

Lucy Dacus
   

Madi Diaz

From neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts’ famed Berklee College of Music, Madi Diaz (QRO photos) brings her beautiful music like this year’s Same History, New Feelings EP to Rhode Island.

Madi Diaz
   

Neal Francis

Singer/songwriter Neal Francis (QRO interview) has blown up (QRO spotlight on) thanks to his channeling of the easy-to-enjoy side of the seventies on this year’s In Plain Sight (QRO review) and festival appearances (QRO photoshoot at a ’21 festival).

Neal Francis
   

Hannah Georgas

With only a handful of demos to her name, Hannah Georgas (QRO interview) left the college life behind and took the chance that everyone who plays an instrument mulls over at one time or another. Thankfully, that chance turned into the chance of a lifetime, with Georgas (QRO photos at a festival) getting international airplay and touring across the continent (QRO photos). It would be entirely unfair to attribute any of her success to luck – instead, Georgas owes her new career path to witty lyrics, poppy writing, and a truly undeniable charm. The Juno Award winner (QRO spotlight on) comes to Newport Folk behind 2020’s All That Emotion (QRO review) – produced by Aaron Dessner of fellow Newport ’22 performers (with whom she’s also toured with) The National (see above).

Hannah Georgas
   

Durand Jones & The Indications

The smooth, contemporary R&B/soul of Durand Jones & The Indications (QRO photos at a festival) comes to Newport Folk behind last year’s Private Space.

Durand Jones
   

Lucius

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 ’18) for a third time, behind this year’s Second Natures.

Lucius
   

Midlake

Denton, Texas’ Midlake (QRO photos outdoors) have swerved around a bit in the indie-rock realm, from 2010’s The Courage of Others (QRO review) to this year’s For the Sake of Bethel Woods, but have stayed true to Texas (QRO photos at a ’22 Texas festival).

Midlake
   

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Denver’s Nathaniel Rateliff (QRO photos) brings sad indie-folks sounds with his band, The Night Sweats (QRO photos at a festival), as he has successfully climbed the festival ladder (QRO photos headlining a festival) behind 2020’s And It’s Still Alright (QRO review). The road warrior (QRO photos at a festival). He’s playing his fifth Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’21  – QRO photos playing solo at ’21 Newport FolkQRO photos at Newport Folk ‘17QRO photos at Newport Folk ‘16), this time bringing his ‘American Tune Revue’.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
   

Adia Victoria

The gothic blues of Nashville’s Adia Victoria (QRO photos at a festival) moves from Appalachia to New England (QRO photos at a festival) as she returns to Newport Folk (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’19).

Adia Victoria
   

Also:

The Ballroom Thieves

Black Opry Revue

Psychic Hotline

Skullcrusher

The Ballroom Thieves

 

 

SUNDAY, JULY 24th

 

Brandi Carlile & Friends

Singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile (QRO interview) has emerged alongside a whole new generation of socially minded melodic songstresses (QRO photos), and in 2018 she (QRO spotlight on) put out her latest (QRO photos outdoors), the multiple Grammy-nominated By the Way, I Forgive You, now coming to back to Newport Folk for a fifth time (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’18QRO photos at Newport Folk ’15), as well as in 2019 teaming up with Natalie Hemby (QRO photos at ’21 Newport Folk), fellow Newport ‘22 Sunday performer Maren Morris (see below), and Amanda Shires (QRO photos at ’18 Newport Folk) as The Highwomen (QRO photos at ’21 Newport Folk).

Brandi Carlile
   

Sierra Ferrell

Mixing gypsy, calypso, jazz and more is West Virginia’s Sierra Ferrell, who plays her second Newport Folk in a row (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’21).

Sierra Ferrell
   

Valerie June

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 (QRO photos at a festival) comes back to Newport Folk for a third time (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’18) behind last year’s, The Moon and The Stars: Prescriptions For Dreamers.

Valerie June
   

The Linda Lindas

Punk rock stills speaks to the kids – kids like The Linda Lindas. Just teenagers (even tweens), the four girls were winning lots of fans, from Bikini Kill to Amy Poehler, even before blowing up last year thanks to their viral kiss-off hit “Racist, Sexist Boy”, and now come to Newport Folk behind this year’s debut full-length, Growing Up.

The Linda Lindas
   

Blake Mills

The producer and guitarist is a critical favorite and a “musician’s musician” having earned praise from Eric Clapton, playing with the likes of Beck and recently toured with Fiona Apple. Blake Mills (QRO photos at a festival) is forging quite the name for himself and you can check out what all the fuss is about as he returns to Newport Folk.

Blake Mills
   

Mandy Moore

Maybe you know Mandy Moore from her string of aughts pop hits, starting with 1999’s platinum debut, So Real. Maybe you know her from her string of acting roles, from voicing Disney’s Rapunzel to starring in NBC’s recently concluded hit family drama, This Is Us. Whatever the case, she brings it all to Newport (after having to cancel in 2020), including this year’s In Real Life.

Mandy Moore
   

Maren Morris

Hit Nashville country music gal Maren Morris (QRO live review) comes to the Gulf Coast. In addition to her own hit records like this year’s Humble Quest, she’s part of country gal super-group The Highwomen (QRO photos at ‘21 Newport Folk), with Natalie Hemby (QRO photos at ’21 Newport Folk), fellow Newport ‘22 Sunday performer Brandi Carlile (see above), and Amanda Shires (QRO photos at ’18 Newport Folk), and has worked with everyone from Dolly Parton (QRO photos together ’19 Newport Folk) to EDM maven Zedd.

Maren Morris
   

Joy Oladokun

Mixing everything from folk to R&B is Joy Oladokun, who returns for her second Newport Folk in a row (QRO photos at Newport Folk ‘21) behind last year’s In Defense of My Own Happiness.

Joy Oladokun
   

The Roots

Newport Folk welcomes The Roots, a.k.a. ‘best band in late night’! Black Thought & ?uestlove’s outfit (QRO photos at a festival) has met with critical and popular acclaim for years now, fusing hip-hop and jazz into an original & enjoyable package, along with collaborating with just about anyone you can name. Quite a few years ago now, the group (QRO photos outdoors) signed on as the house band for the new Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and now serves on the new Tonight Show (and are partly responsible for it moving to the Big Apple), and while this limited their touring (QRO photos at a festival in New York), not so their records, like 2011’s Undun (QRO review). And the Philly natives, when not slow-jamming the news with President Obama, find the time to come to Rhode Island (QRO photos outdoors) to headline (QRO photos headlining a ’22 festival).

The Roots
   

Sylvan Esso

Durham, North Carolina indie-pop duo Sylvan Esso (QRO photos outdoors) moved up very fast (QRO photos at a festival) since the release in 2014 of their eponymous debut full-length, with well-titled follow-up What Now (QRO review) out 2017 and Free Love (QRO review) last year. They come to Newport Folk (QRO photos at a festival) after having to cancel in 2020, because they never stop starting (QRO photos at a ’22 festival)!

Sylvan Esso
   

Trampled by Turtles

From frigid Duluth comes the warm jam-folk of Trampled by Turtles (QRO photos), who are heading onto the open road (QRO photos outdoors) behind 2018 great Life Is Good On the Open Road (QRO review), and return to Newport Folk for a fourth time (QRO photos at Newport Folk ’14).

Trampled By Turtles
   

Also:

Dakhabrakha

Bendigo Fletcher

Harmanos Gutiérrez

Love Will Go All the Way

Arny Margret

Anaïs Mitchell

Buffalo Nichols

Anaïs Mitchell

 

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