Back in 2001 I attended the Newport Folk Festival, and let me tell you it was one of the best music festivals I have ever been to. Fort Adams State Park is a great venue, cool people, and the music is unbelievable. I am not really into traditional folk music, but Newport attracts more of the singer songwriter set. The list of musicians who have played Newport is mind boggling, and to witness some of the history is an experience in itself. I will never forget Patty Larkin rocking out or Emmylou Harris singing "Pancho and Lefty" in the rain. Every summer since then I check the lineup and think about getting a ticket, but I have yet to return. This year's roster of music was stellar as usual; Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, The Pixies, Richard Thompson, Patty Larkin, Jim Lauderdale, Kasey Chambers, Thad Cockrell, etc., but I knew it wasn't in the cards to go again this year.
So this morning while drinking my coffee I decided to tune into the local radio station from Martha's Vineyard, they usually play great jazz on Sunday mornings. I was happily surprised to find that they were broadcasting live from Newport. Old Crow Medicine Show was just taking the stage, a band I'm not that familiar with, I would call them an acoustic roots jug band, playing a mix of old school blues and Appalachian fiddle tunes. They did a rendition of "C.C. Rider" that caught my attention, and I will definitely pick up a CD. Now listening to music live on the radio is not the same as being there, but for someone who doesn't get to see much live music anymore, it was still cool background music for a Sunday afternoon. Later in the day I tuned into Kasey Chamber's set, another artist I haven't listened to much, this Aussie can really let go, she and her band sounded great.
I really wanted to hear Emmylou Harris, I have seen her a few times before and her live shows are amazing, though I wish she would hook up with the boys from Spyboy again. I knew she was going to be closing the day with Elvis Costello, so I tuned in again around dinner time. Turns out Emmylou didn't make it to Newport this year because of some family emergency, but taking her place onstage were Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Now if you are not familiar with this pair, go out and buy the CD "Time (The Revelator)" right now, you will not be disappointed. I saw them in Boston last summer, so it was a treat to hear them play again. David Rawlings is one of the best guitar players out there right now, hands down, and Gillian's vocals are haunting. Sorry Emmylou couldn't make it, hope all is well with her, but Gillian and David had the crowd going.
Here is a review of the entire weekend from The Boston Globe.
I have to give props to WMVY for pulling off this live broadcast, it was cool to hear some live music from one of the greatest venues on the East Coast, just wish I could have been there, maybe next year.