13 August 2007

Newport Folk Fest

Two weekends ago (has it been that long already?) I attended my 3rd Newport Folk Fest. It's a great little festival and I would recommend it to anyone living up in the northeast. It's a folk fest, but they mix it up quite bit and stretch the definition of folk, at least in the years since I've been going. But they also introduce you to a lot of smaller folksy type stuff that you've never even heard of half the time. And then of course the opportunity to see some classic old timer always pops up. This year's fest was no different. No wait, it was very different. Just check out the first days lineup. Folk fest? Are you serious? More like big time rock concert. The Allman Brothers, Grace Potter, John Butler. North Mississippi Allstars, Assembly of Dust, Dirty Dozen Brass Band?...now don't get me wrong, I enjoyed these sets, and enjoyed that they were there, but honestly, one or two would've done the trick. It was a little too much for this festival in my opinion. I don't want to sound folk elitist or old school, but I think they should stick to the formula of a couple anomalies surrounded but more rootsy bands. It was as much a volume issue as anything else. My suggestion though, is to cram a midweek rock festival in between the Folk and Jazz festivals that share the same beautiful site for 2 consecutive weekends every year. Both are world class fests, but add a rock fest in between and you've got yourself one helluva festival week going on there. I know I'd be in for the whole shebang. One of the 3 of you reading this...pass the word on to someone that can make a difference!

Fortunately for you, it is too far away for me to remember the details of the sets too well, so I will leave you with some visual aids, and perhaps a little commentary if I see fit. For a much better rundown of what went down, go read yourself some Neddy. (Day 1) (Day 2)

Duane Andrews Trio
He referenced Django at every break. With good reason.

Lonesome Brothers
Great American bluesy rock.

Assembly of Dust
Much jammier than I was expecting, but I still really enjoyed it. They brought a good chunk of their own fans who were really getting down.

Carolina Chocolate Drops
A better Charleston you will not see. These guys not only are a freaking excellent string band, they are VERY entertaining. And not in a cheesy bluegrass way either.


Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Every year at least one band I had never heard prior sends me home itching to hear them ASAP. A few years ago that was Jim White. This year it was Elvis Perkins. Loved it. A nice mix of Beatles, Buddy Holly, and Bob Dylan, with a nice energetic and fun stage presence. These guys deserve two vids.

Ralph Stanley
It was like an Americana museum exhibit. Live and in the flesh. Classic.

And not to be outdone by the Chocolate Drops they threw in their own dance moves...

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