The 53rd Annual Newport Folk Festival will begin this weekend at the fittingly historic . The festival has one of the most storied and respected histories of any rican music festival. It’s where was booed for going electric, where the went acoustic and this year it’s where the Guthrie Family will celebrate Woody’s would-be 100th birthday. So in eager anticipation for this weekend of amazing music, I will give you a taste of the 10 acts that are surely not to be missed…


Nana from the band of monsters of men (photo by )

This ic band hasn’t even been the US for six months and already has a faithful following. Their combination of infectous melodies, uptempo rock and clever lyricism makes for one of the biggest up and coming bands of this year.

Check out a intimate performance of their single little talk underneath

9. HoneyHoney

Promo photo by Randi Curby

Suzanne Santo and Benjamin Jaffe are bringing the Bakersfield sound back to the Country music scene. With Santo’s actress good-looks and whitty yet dark lyrics, this duo mixes some the most innovative and fresh tracks to come out of the thought to be extinct California country genre.

plays the Esquire House (2)

8. tUnE-yArDs

Photo By

In 1965 would have most likely been booed off stage along with at . But times have changed and Garbus’ band Tune-Yards continues to evolve what people call “rican ” and more importantly what they call rican Folk . Her vocal looping and ukelele stylings are some of the most hypnotic and exciting musical moments you will experience at newport.

tUnE-yArDs - Bizness (Official Video)

7. Ben lee

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This cello wielding Kentucky native is one of the best young songwriters in the folk scene today. He just recently finished a new album, completely financed through a campaign, along with undergoing yet another bike tour. Yeah, thats right…forget the vans or trailers, because Ben lee does a lot of traveling and by bike.

Check out his intimate Tiny Desk Performance with such songs as “Captivity,” “The Globe” and “Inclusions”…


at the 2010 Photo by

is one of the most celebrated and historic Jazz ensembles in the country. is the true definition of jazz and the heritage that goes along with such a genre can be considered the voice of a entire subculture of rica. Which such a heavily historic background, PHJB is sure to include a slew of expended family on stage. With and already confirmed, expect the likes of (of ) and Ben lee to join the band for at least one or two…


Image Courtesy of Partisan Records

The Rhode Island natives are arguably the busiest band at this year’s festival. Not only are the playing an afternoon set on the Quad stage but they will also be curating three after parties at the Newport Blues Cafe. The after parties will include the likes of , Matt Vasquez of and none other than Jackson Brown. With these parties aside, ’s gritty alt-country sound, with clear influences from and the 90’s grunge scene, makes the band an incredible display of raw emotion and a incredible live performance to witness.

- Main Street (Official Video - Uncensored)


at 2010 Photo by

If is the busiest band at this year, then without a doubt is the busiest man at the festival with a slated headlining set as and a tribute set with his newly formed band . Don’t expect James to stop there; last time James performed at Newport he popped up at sets with and Ben lee (who are both in attendance this year). Not to mention there is a Guthrie Family reunion and a fellow member of , , is there as well. Bottom line is, if you don’t see in some form……. you weren’t really at this year.

The Black Cab Sessions. Chapter Forty-three: My Morning Jack


Photo Courtesy of Nonesuch Records

Not everyone will be in attendance for the opening night festivities, but Friday night with feature , and . If anything, a night at , with the beautiful harbor breeze to your back and the radiant sun setting in the horizon combined with the brilliance of to keep you company…I’m not sure there is a much better way to spend a Friday night.


The reason is a “can’t miss” is the simple fact that no one really knows what he will be doing at this years festival. He isn’t performing or hasn’t performed as his solo act in months, nor has he performed with in a long wile. With such a extensive back catalog Obersts’ set is sure to suprise and please everyone no matter what he decides to perform.


Ok, before I begin, yes…I know is dead. But the underlying theme at this years festival is ’s 100th birthday. With two tribute sets for the man and a great deal of his extended family in attendance, the Father of rican folk will be saluted, praised and emulated to continue on the legacy of not only his music but the festival his music helped create. Expect s galore with chants of This Land is Your Land, All You Fascists and Talking Dust Bowl Blues.

Remember The Mountain Bed performed by at id Sound