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2018 Newport Folk Fest: 9 Fierce Women Who Rocked
Newport Folk Festival has been the destination for cutting edge cultural commentary through music since 1959. This year the festival's lineup included a wide variety of wonderful women from all over today's musical landscape. Let's take a look at seven of the female artists who rocked Newport.
Amanda Shires blew the tent away above the Quad stage, treating the Newport Folk audience to material from her forthcoming album, To The Sunset. Her soaring vocals in the album's opener, "Parking Lot Piroughette," echoed off the stone walls at Adams Fort State Park, announcing a new musical phase for the already well-accomplished singer/songwriter/violinist.
The versatile and delightful Valerie June dazzled the waterside crowd on Saturday afternoon, delivering songs from her fourth album, The Order Of Time, just in time for the ocean breeze to push out some of the heat.
With her bold and brazen new album, All American Made, Margo Price has arrived. Her set on the opening day of Newport Folk did not disappoint, including a masterful turn with John Prine on his classic duet, "In Spite Of Ourselves." This day belonged to Price, and her set proved she's one of music's next great voices.
Newport Folk Festival has always had a strong streak of something new and different. Enter St. Vincent. This year, the GRAMMY-winning artist closed opening day of the festival with haunting acoustic performances, peeling back to the bones of her unique songs and giving the festival crowd a fresh angle on what folk music can sound like.
Tank And The Bangas
The success story belonging to Tank And The Bangas is part modern magic and part destiny. The New Orleans eclectic collective were "discovered" last year when they won NPR's Tiny Desk Contest, but Tank and Co. have been cultivating their honest, quirky and lyrical sonic vibe into a monster. They let the beast out at Newport, opening their Saturday set with an electrified "Star Spangled Banner" and turning the energy up to match the heat.
A true class act, Brandi Carlile's Sunday set put the perfect punctuation on a weekend of community, acceptance and fun. Not only did she blare her unforgettable signature hit "The Story" out to a roaring crowd, she treaded into rarely charted territory with her soaring cover of Led Zeppelin's "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You." Wow.
Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of Lucius
With a bunch of buzz mounting for the dynamic duo of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Lucius made their return to Newport for a triumphant set Friday, filled with their masterful vocal dynamics and harmonies. The songs echoed with the purity of their latest album, Nudes, and teased the promise of what's to come for the duo as they move toward a fourth album.
Perhaps no other artist on Newport's bill falls simultaneously as close to the American folk tradition and further away from it than Courtney Barnett. Coming all the way from Australia, her word-heavy verses and blunt choruses harken back to the days of Dylan while her electrified Newport set burned with a new fire, one that is all over her latest album, Tell Me How You Really Feel.