July Spotify Playlist of the Month


Coming back at you in July with another big-time playlist. This month features 65 fresh jams from the likes of Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Read More

Newport Folk Fest 2017: Highlights


Newport Folk and its now-veteran booker Jay Sweet has proven itself to fans year after year. This year, the festival asked us to trust. Read More

August + September 2017 Spotify Playlist of the Month


After a month long hiatus we are back with 75 fresh ones from Covey, Mondo Cozmo, Mr Jukes, Ted Leo, Dwight & Nicole, Grizzly Read More

Newport Folk Festival Recap

Matt Vasquez on New Delta Spirit Album

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For the third and final Middle Brother interview of today we want to share what Matt Vasquez had to say about the new Delta Spirit album which the band is set to complete in the coming weeks. The band played tracks from the upcoming album during their Newport set and it is an understatement to say that we can’t wait to hear the rest of it.

When I caught up with Matt on Saturday after Delta Spirit’s set he talked about the process they have been going through to record the album and as you can see from the picture above we were joined by festival producer Jay Sweet at the end of the conversation. See what Matt had to say about the new album below and check out a video of them playing a new track during their Newport set.

Maimed & Tamed: How is the recording process going on the new album?

Matt Vasquez: We did three weeks out in Woodstock, it was beautiful. Then we finished there and we decided we wanted to record some more so we leave here to fly to St. Louis to meet up with My Morning Jacket for two shows and then we’re going to do Lollapalooza and then fly back to New York for five more days to finish it up.

We’re going to James Iha’s studio from Smashing Pumpkins. This guy Chris Coady who produced the last Beach House album and some other really great things, Smith Westerns, TV on the Radio, he is doing it. It is nice to work with somebody who has got a lot of input.

On the last two records we worked with Bo Koster from My Morning Jacket and Eli Thompson who has been with us since the beginning as our engineer. He mixed Ode to Sunshine and engineered the second record. He is the kind of person where you just do whatever you feel like doing and then when you run into a wall he will sit with you and figure it out. That’s what I’m used to and this was like a whole other experience because Chris is very focused and when he has an idea he needs to accomplish it.

Interview with Deer Tick/Middle Brother frontman John McCauley

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Although it didn’t sound like it on Sunday, the boys of Middle Brother hadn’t played together as a band since April. The only reason one might be led to believe that the boys were a bit rusty was Taylor’s brief moment of memory loss on the last verse of Wilderness which still made for some great crowd interaction.

After Middle Brother’s set we got a chance to ask John McCauley a few quick questions about how the band got it’s start and one of John’s favorite activities aside from playing music–drinking.

Maimed & Tamed: How did the idea for Middle Brother start to come to fruition when Deer Tick was touring with Dawes back in 2009?

John McMauley: I think we just liked each other’s songwriting and I just asked him if he would be interested in doing something like that and he said yes. I don’t think he expected it to really happen, I don’t know if I really expected it to happen either. It all worked out and then Matt got involved and everything came together. I didn’t really know Matt at all and him and Taylor were buds so when he heard about this project he wanted in on it, so I said ok this sounds awesome I like Delta Spirit a lot.

M&T: Some of us caught your Deervana set at Bonnaroo this year, can we expect to see some of that during Deer Tick’s set at the Newport Blues Café tonight?

JM: Sometimes we throw in a Nirvana cover, but Deervana is officially broken up. That was probably our worst one [at Bonnaroo] I’m sorry. Maybe it was good, I don’t know if you like drunken musicians playing as loud as possible.

M&T: Speaking of drunken musicians, what was your drink of choice while working on the Middle Brother album?

JM: We drank a lot of Budweiser, a lot of Budweiser and a lot of tequila. The producer’s wife made some really bangin’ tequila sunrises so we were drinking a lot of those. A lot of whiskey too, and some scotch. Between all of us we could easily kill a couple bottles of liquor and a few cases of beer a day, so sometimes it was a vodka day sometimes it was a whiskey day.

Didn’t Think Dawes Would Be At Newport?

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When the lineup came out neither did we, but by the time we figured out they would be collaborating with M. Ward we started to get a sneaky suspicion. Between that news and the scheduling of Middle Brother and M. Ward one right after the other on the Quad Stage we got to thinking that at least a few Dawes songs had to be in order. Sure enough Sunday rolled around and we were informed that Dawes would be playing a quick set in between Middle Brother and M. Ward.

Before Middle Brother hit the stage we took the chance to talk with Dawes/Middle Brother drummer Griffin Goldsmith and bassist Wiley Gelber and after Dawes shredded their way through “Fire Away” and “When My Time Comes”  during the surprise mini set, we were also able to get a few minutes with Dawes/Middle Brother frontman Taylor Goldsmith before he hopped back on stage.

Read below to see what Griffin and Wiley had to say about life on the road as well as balancing Middle Brother with Dawes and then click the link to hear what Taylor thinks of Dawes’ recent success and what it was like to work with Robbie Robertson and Jackson Browne, not to mention finding out what his favorite song by The Band is.

Maimed & Tamed: How has life on the road been since the latest record came out?

Wiley Gelber: It’s good man, we’ve got this tour and then we’re going out on a co-headliner next month with Blitzen Trapper.

M&T: You guys have gotten to work with some legends like Jackson Browne and Robbie Robertson recently, how was that?

Griffin Goldsmith: It’s pretty surreal man. We just got back from Spain about a week ago, we were out there with Jackson and it was the coolest trip I have ever taken, hands down. Hopefully he will be around today.

WG: Yeah he said he was going to stop by.

Maimed & Tamed: [Insert face of bewildered excitement] Really? Is he going to get up on stage with you guys?

WG: If we had a proper set I think he would.

GG: I think he actually has a wedding to go to or something.

M&T: [Insert: This]

M&T: How is it balancing Middle Brother with Dawes?

GG: It’s good and bad. It has given us a lot of good opportunities and it has taken a couple away from Dawes, which is always a bummer, but this is actually going to be the last Middle Brother show. I love those dudes, obviously they are some of our best friends, it’s really fun working with them, but I’m happy we’ve done it and I’m glad to put it behind us.

Interview with Taylor Goldsmith

Stay tuned for interviews with the other 2/3 of Middle Brother.

Popsicles and Folk Music: An Interview with The Decemberists

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If you have been keeping up with our Newport recaps all week you would already know that Chris Funk is quite the comedian, and with the help of a popsicle stick he can tell quite the joke.

Fortunately for all of you, Funk and fellow Decemberists bandmate Nate Query had more to talk about than just sharing popsicle stick humor. With a new record out and a summer full of tour dates, the band from the great Northwest has been quite busy, but not too busy to take a few minutes to chat with your favorite blog. Here is what they had to say–

Maimed & Tamed: On the newest record you got a chance to work with Gillian Welch and Peter Buck, how was it to work with two people who have had an obvious influence on your band over the years?

Nate Query: It was awesome, the weird thing was that we didn’t even see Gillian until months later when we did Letterman with her. So it is hard to speak to what it was like working with her, but it was awesome that she did it, she sounds great. And then Pete Buck came in for a day and he is just like so pro, he did all his parts in a couple hours and then we drank beer, it was awesome. It is always nice to work with people who are that amazing, you don’t get to do that very often.

M&T: Bonnaroo set you guys killed it, we were wondering how the pick-off went with Bela Fleck at Telluride? [Note: During their set at Bonnaroo this year Colin Meloy and Chris Funk challenged Bela Fleck to a “pick-off” at the following weekend’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival]

NQ: We won. We finally won fair and square. They were good sports, even though they knew that they were outmatched.

M&T: You guys have previously toured with a lot of bands that are here this weekend, any chances of collaborations?

NQ: There are a lot of chances so we’ll see.

Chris Funk: We will do some stuff with Gill [Welch] and Dave [Rawlings] for sure and then get together at that bbq thing tonight and see what happens.

Please Please Please Let Me Get Through This Traffic: PS22 Chorus at Newport Folk Festival 2011

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Caroline with The PS22 Chorus’ Gregg Breinberg

Traffic sucks, guys.  There’s really no way around it (pun intended).  And if you arrived in Newport for the Folk Festival this past weekend basically any later than sunrise, traffic indeed you encountered.  Now, I’m willing to sacrifice punctuality every once in a while due to some nasty gridlock.  But on Saturday of the Festival, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, was going to get in between me and my PS22 babies (Creepy? Deal with it).

The PS22 Chorus was set to take the stage at 11:30 on Saturday, having the grand honor of opening up the festivities of the weekend.  Though sweaty and winded due to speed-walking a mile from the parking lot, I didn’t miss much of Gregg Breinberg and his Staten Island 5th graders, though I did have to enjoy their first two numbers while waiting in line at the entrance gate.  Yet once I arrived at the Harbor Stage and heard the kids’ angelic harmonies, all of my whining and cursing immediately faded away.  In person, the Chorus is just as full of life and musically gifted as they appear in their famous YouTube videos.  They kept the audience guessing by switching seamlessly between genres.  From Eminem’s “Not Afraid,” to a genius cover of The Smiths’ “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” the chorus nailed them all.  I found the Smiths’ cover to be especially poignant, considering many of these kids come from pretty tough backgrounds, yet always bring so much joy to their on-stage performances.  I think they could even teach Morrissey a thing or two.

When their too-short set came to an end, they brought the house down with an encore of “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele.  It’s a great song, but the radio has been overplaying it for about three months now.  Despite all, the Chorus completely reinvigorated the tune, and displayed the mature skills of soloist, Denise.  Overall, I left Newport confident as ever about the Chorus’ unmitigated love of performing, and the talent and kindness of their director, Gregg Breinberg.  This was very much thanks to our time spent with the director backstage.  Take a listen to Trevor’s interview with Mr. B., where he touches upon his progression into music education and his views on performing at Newport, below.

Interview with Gregg Breinberg of PS 22 Chorus

Newport Folk Festival 2011 Photos

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Everyone make sure to check out all of the great shots we got from this weekend at Newport. Visit our Facebook page to see all of the action and make sure to leave a comment if you like what you see. Special thanks to Trevor, Caroline and our weekend photo pro Tess O’Connor for capturing some great moments at this year’s festival.

Interview with Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles

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On Sunday morning I had the pleasure of catching up with Trampled By Turtles frontman Dave Simonett. He talked about the musical heritage of the band’s hometown of Duluth and as you all may know one of the most famous festival veterans also hails from the Minnesota city (he caused quite a controversy back in ’65 in case you need a hint). Dave mentioned that, “You can’t really avoid where you’re from,” a claim that was certainly solidified by a tattoo of the state on his forearm.

Later on that day the band would take the Quad Stage by storm and command a rousing ovation followed by an encore of Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind?” (see below) I wouldn’t be surprised to see the bluegrass boys from Duluth back at the festival next year as they quickly proved to be a crowd favorite.

Take a listen to the interview below to hear Dave talk about Duluth, this year’s festival and who would be playing if he were in Jay Sweet’s shoes.

Interview with Dave Simonett of Trampled By Turtles

Interview with Judah Dadone of Freelance Whales

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After a rousing show provided by River City Extension, the Freelance Whales kept the Quad Stage in a frenzy with a lively performance. Glockenspiels and harmoniums abound, the group added an electric flair to this year’s festival. What was so exciting about Freelance Whales at this year’s festival would have to be the liberty they took with their songs to insert extended jams and build a set list conducive to clapping, dancing and singing along. Going straight from Hannah into Location, both off of Weathervanes, a continuous flow of upbeat energy was provided that the crowd was clearly addicted to. Catching their stride as the set went on, it was obvious that the crowd was disappointed to see them leave.

Shortly after the show I was able to get an interview with Judah Dadone, the band’s lead singer, and he talked about what it means to be at the Newport Folk Festival, how their music fits in at Newport, playing with PS 22 and who they were most excited to see at this year’s festival.

Interview with Judah Dadone of Freelance Whales

Interview with River City Extension

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I wrote in a post yesterday about River City Extension’s performance at this year’s Newport Folk Festival using words such as ‘transcendent, heavenly and folking’. I naturally stand by my choice of words and if I could be even more Daytrotter-like and add some more verbose adjectives I think I would have to choose ‘vivacious, bewitching and historic.’ Those that were there at the Quad Stage know they were witnessing the rise of a great band which has a very promising future in the folk scene.

I was able to catch up with some of the members of River City Extension and get the scoop on how they got involved with the Newport Folk Festival, their reaction to being asked to play and why they have started a habit of getting off the stage and into the crowd for an acoustic encore on special occasions.

Interview with River City Extension

Wanna Hear Chris Funk Tell a Joke?

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While we are sorting through our interviews from this weekend’s Newport Folk Festival we wanted to share this little gem with you as a preview for what is to come throughout the rest of the week.

When we caught up with The Decemberists guitarist Chris Funk he was enjoying a tasty summer treat and was kind enough to share the joke on his popsicle stick. Click the link below for a little folkin’ humor–

Chris Funk Tells a Funny