Newport Folk Festival Spotlight: The 5 Most Intriguing Sets From the 2016 Lineup

Newport Folk Festival 2016

With the lineup set for this year’s festival we take a look at the 5 most intriguing sets and raise a lot of questions that will hopefully be answered next month at the Fort.

Ryan Adams with The Infamous Stringdusters featuring Nicki Bluhm on Saturday July 23

Adams makes his triumphant return to the Fort, but this time with The Infamous Stringdusters and Nicki Bluhm in tow. This is sure to be an interesting set mainly because Adams can be so unpredictable when it comes to song selection on any given night, but pair that with a brand new backing band and it’s anybody’s guess. The collaboration with the Stringdusters and Bluhm suggests he’ll be exploring the twangier side of his catalog, but here’s one far-out theory– Heartbreaker. Adams put out a deluxe reissue of his seminal album this year and this backing band would be a perfect fit on tracks like “Come Pick Me Up”, “To Be Young”, and “My Winding Wheel” among others.

Middle Brother on Sunday July 24

First let me say that I hope and pray that this set will be at the Quad Stage for old time’s sake. Knowing Newport and their reverence for even recent history, I think it would be quite fitting to put the Middle Bro boys back where it all started in 2011. Everyone loves a good reunion, a supergroup reunion especially, but what makes this set most intriguing to us is the potential of new Middle Brother music. Could there be a follow-up to their 5-year old eponymous debut on the horizon?

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats on Saturday July 23

At the 2015 festival Rateliff and co. seamlessly transformed their now mega-hit “S.O.B.” into a cover of The Band’s “The Shape I’m In” featuring a ripping guitar solo from J Mascis and we proclaimed that big things would be coming from the band after a performance like that. Last year the band seemed immediately at home at the Fort and we’re interested to see what collaborations they might have up their sleeves during their second year as part of the Newport fam.

Matthew Logan Vasquez on Friday July 22

Of course the focus will be on his impressive debut solo LP, Solicitor Returns, but think of all the potential for collaborations from this lineup. McCauley and Goldsmith are shoe-ins to make an appearance, and knowing Vasquez’s flair for delivering one-of-a-kind performances I’d say it’s a safe bet to expect at least a few other faces from the lineup to make an appearance.

Elvis Costello on Sunday July 24

With Taylor Goldsmith scheduled to make an appearance with Middle Brother on Sunday, might we see him join Costello on stage to perform some material from The New Basement Tapes? Will Elvis put in a call to Jim James to join in on the Dylan revival? Could that lead to another unannounced My Morning Jacket set with the rest of the MMJ boys already scheduled to appear with Ray LaMontagne? So many questions, not enough answers.

Posted on by Eric in Newport Folk Festival Spotlight

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