This weekend is the historic Newport Folk Festival, sure to be a great time with great music. Here I highlight albums by 3 artists that will NOT be at Newport this year, but they’d fit right in there and with any luck one day they’ll play the harbor.
The Pines: Dark So Gold
A look at the album cover (neglected scarecrow against silhouette of a bleak horizon) and the title of the album (Dark So Gold) tells you almost all you need to know about The Pines. Their music is a melancholy Americana, dark and occasionally haunting. The album is for a certain mood, whispered poetry in black, white and the shades of grey in between, with multiple guitar tones meshing in exquisite understatement.
Christopher Paul Stelling: Songs of Praise and Scorn
Folk music at its purest is one guy and his acoustic guitar. With that in mind, I give you Brooklyn’s Christopher Paul Stelling, who takes that purist formula, with little added to it, to uplifting extremes. Fantastic songwriting, superlative guitar picking and passionate singing, the music is stark and beautiful; a debut worthy of a listen.
These United States: These United States
These United States play roots rock in the vein of The Band, or more contemporary, Blitzen Trapper, just the kind of band you’d happily discover at Newport. Their newest, self-titled release shows the band at their finest: up-tempo Americana, guitars and bass mixed with appropriate daubs of banjo, harmonica, piano and steel. Start-to-finish rockin’ fun, this is late July Wednesday listening – the weekend is in sight.