This year’s class of Newport Folk Fest artists lived up to all the hype … AND our lofty expectations. We thought it only fitting to crown some of the most notable moments and acts with superlative designates in our own subjective, crafted categories.
Scott Stapleton – Keys, Phosphorescent
Milk Carton Kids: No, seriously, they wore full suits all weekend y’all. They had to be smokin’ inside those things.
Runner Up: Shovels and Rope – The husband and wife duo (PIC ABOVE) heated things up during their energetic set … with one of them often coming extremely close to shoveling his or her tongue in the other’s mouth. Hot.
Most Unintentionally Grunge:
Spirit Family Reunion: For the second year in a row, SFR has seized the title of MUG – with no one else in the running for miles. We’d like to thank our friends in SFR for their continued efforts on this front.
Best Summer Hair:
Kanene Pipkin, The Lone Bellow: Rock that hair, girl. Rock. That Hair. Girl.
Andrew Bird: This isn’t even a fair category, you guys. It’s obviously him, because he’s a monster of whistles.
Runner-up: Rayland Baxter– if this were a normal category with normal entrants, the RB probably would have taken home the gold.
Best Recounting of a Strange Dream While On Stage:
Rayland Baxter: Mr. Baxter’s lovely re-telling of a dream in which he met a cider-drinking Jesus, who offered him a cold Bud Light before morphing into a lizard left us laughing … and somewhat bewildered.
Best Unplanned, Unrelated Cover:
Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” – Brian Elmquist and The Lone Bellow (and crowd): Here’s how it went down – as Zach told the crowd a story of backing vocalist and guitar player Brian that involved the McCain “classic” and a broken leg and youth, Elmquist broke into the song … and before too long, the crowd was reliving all sorts of god-knows-what memories and raising their voices in harmony with Elmquist and all the McCain angels that be.
Beck and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
Runner-up: John McCauley and His Mom – I didn’t see this with my own two eyes, but it was made KNOWN to me that McCauley brought his momma up on stage to collaborate on a song. And that is pretty damn cool. (And speaking of good ole John, he let me snap some smart-phone pics of his rainbow of tats during a convo backstage. (SEE PHOTO ON RIGHT)
Best Audience Participation:
The Lone Bellow: Hands down. That’s all folks.
Runner Up: Spirit Family Reunion
Most Buzzed About:
Bombino: It’s true, it’s true. The band that got increasingly more and more street cred as the weekend progressed was newcomer Bombino, as multiple artists expressed their excitement about the band from their respective pulpits-er, we mean, stages.