And I’m really glad I did. The day was beautiful (though clouds were rolling in toward the end of The Lone Bellow's set, and it started raining right as I returned to my car), my drive to Newport was easy, with only a spot or two of traffic once I got to town, and the water taxi over to Fort Adams State Park was pleasant. It was fun listening to the people on the taxi discussing their histories with the festival – a couple of first timers, some people who have been a few times, and one guy who has attended every year for the last 23. I realized that, at the very least, I would have the experience of being at one of the more iconic music festivals in the U.S.
Both of the bands were great! New Breed Brass was so much fun and those guys are so talented. Elephant Revival makes beautiful music, and how can anyone not love a band that includes a washboard and a saw?
As soon as Elephant Revival cleared away their equipment, the members of The Lone Bellow headed out to the stage to set up and do their sound check. The band is always very focused and serious when they are setting up, but here we had the chance to witness a few moments when they joked around with each other. At one point, when they were coordinating the volume on each member’s mic, Kanene asked to have hers turned down a bit, and Zach quipped, “Yeah, turn her down. I don’t need to hear any more of her!”
I’d been disappointed about having to miss Leon Bridges because his set was too close to The Lone Bellow’s, but all was not lost because he joined the band on stage for a magical performance of “Watch Over Us.” I did not have the pleasure of seeing The Lone Bellow perform this song live with The Blind Boys of Alabama at the Eaux Claires Music Festival, but I have to believe this was on par. While still reeling from that, the members of Lucius walked onto the stage wearing vibrant yellow dresses, and joined in on a rendition of the Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Find Love!” And then! Sara Watkins accompanied the band for “Call to War.”
See more of Timothy Patrick Boyer's photos of The Lone Bellow here, and more of Chris Van Slyke's here. And you can listen to the band's Newport Folk Festival set here, courtesy of NPR Music.