A stark contrast to a rainy Friday session, Sarah Jarosz kicked off Day Two at the Newport Folk Festival singing “Kingdom by the Sea,” a fitting song for a sunny Saturday at Fort Adams.
Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee Segarra brought a Newport Orleans vibe for one of the strongest sets of the day on the Quad stage. But it was Brooklyn’s The Lone Bellow and Nashville’s Langhorne Slim that drew in some of the largest and most lively crowds of the day with their soulful performances and authentic songwriting. Of note, the crowd roared and sang along as Zach Williams of The Lone Bellow belted out the chorus of “You Never Need Nobody.”
No city was better represented at the Festival than Nashville. The east side of The Music City – better known for the kind of pop country that makes me want to claw my eyes out – has experienced a bit of a renaissance of respectable tune-making over the last few years with Tennesseans like Andrew Combs, Toy Soldiers, Spencer Cullum Jr., Joshua Black Wilkins and Rayland Baxter redefining the scene there. On Saturday, each took part in Rhode Island-based Americana singer Joe Fletcher’s “Nashville to Newport” event on the Museum stage, playing a few songs each. Baxter also performed a stunning set on the Harbor stage flanked by fellow Nashvillians Odessa Rose, Kristin Weber and Cullum Jr. The men of gcb also caught a fine set by Toy Soldiers and Combs at the 180 on Saturday night.
Iris Dement won my heart again. Shovels & Rope made everyone sweat a little bit more. Not a bad Saturday.