1. I heart Young @ Heart - tear jerking, inspiring, unique and definitely a fan favorite. Check out Quinn’s post for more details and stay tuned for his upcoming interview piece!
2. I heart Sydney Wayser – beautiful, quirky, surrounded by toys and with a voice like honey, she never fails to impress. Free downloads.
3. I heart American Babies - whose performance at the waterside tent was so amazing that, upon completion of their set, they were whisked off to the main stage in the middle of a thunder storm … not only did the fans stay out in the rain but they LOVED the set – after which the American Babies had difficulty walking the grounds without being swarmed by new and adoring fans! Free downloads.
4. I heart Willy Mason – as the storm intensified on Saturday afternoon, the power on his stage was cut. Sensing the audiences disappointment, Willy ran backstage, found an acoustic guitar and brought his parents out. Mara Carlyle grabbed her saw and a washboard and Willy’s brother brought a drum to the front of the stage. Willy stepped off stage, called everyone into sit in the aisles so they wouldn’t get wet and then played among his adoring fans with his mother harmonizing by his side. His father pulled up a seat on stage, sang back up vocals and added percussion by using his hands on the guitar case.
As the rain slashed at the sides of the tent, the audience huddled together (some on the ground, some in seats) and fell in love with the entire Mason clan. I knelt in the mud at Willy’s feet and looked around at the drenched crowd, feeling all the positive energy swirling around the tent. For this tiny moment in time, a little over a hundred people laughed at the weather, happily squeezed under a muddy tent and shared raw and natural music with a man and his family. The moment was funny, powerful, strange and beautiful all at once. It was impossible not to think back to a time when music wasn’t about power, money or finding an agent – but a sense of togetherness and a means by which people came together. I heart Willy Mason for giving us this moment and reminding us what folk music is really all about. Stay tuned for footage and an interview from this moving performance.
5. I heart Red Rooster – who had anywhere from 7-11 different instruments going on the stage at any given time. Phenomenal music, great style and energetic performance made them one of my favorite new discoveries!
6. I heart the Felice Brothers - who took a cue from Willy mason and kicked it up a notch as the rain continued to pour outside.
7. I heart the ridiculous view and surroundings at Newport Folk – what an amazing festival.
8. I heart Jay Sweet - OurStage advisor and program director of the festival, Jay went above and beyond everyones expectations this year – nice job Jay!
9. I heart Ryan Fitzsimmons – who won the hearts of the audience with his quirky, cute stories and passionate folk ballads. Free downloads.
10. I heart The Honors - who credited Bob Dylan’s 1965 Newport Folk fiasco for their dark sunglasses and heavier electric style. People craving a little harder sound were thoroughly satisfied as they gravitated to The Honors showcase while those who were still in a softer, folky mood enjoyed Brandi Carlile (whom I also heart) over on the Fort Stage.