Now that tickets have gone on sale for this year’s Newport Folk Festival (get yours here before they sell out because they most definitely will) the lineup rumor mill has inevitably started turning. In years past our predictions/wishlist have been both hits and misses, but that’s not going to stop us from making another list this year. Here’s to hoping we get ‘em all right in 2015.
My Morning Jacket
This one just makes too much sense. Jim James and co. are back hitting the festival circuit hard this summer with appearances at Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, Boston Calling, and Hangout already confirmed. Plus Mr. James also resides on the festival’s Board of Advisors, and not to mention their epic set at the 2012 festival that was cut short by torrential rain. If ever there was a lock for this year’s lineup, this would be it.
Natalie Prass and/or Courtney Barnett
About a minute into Natalie Prass’ brand new album, that oh-so-familiar feeling hit: “God, she’d be great at Newport.” Prass’ vocals float precariously on top of her brassy backing band, creating one of the most unique female folk albums we’ve heard in a while. Another powerhouse we’d love to see at Folk ’15 is Courtney Barnett (of Australia, naturally). Her 2013 album was a veritable indie hit, thanks especially to her raw, sardonic songwriting. Much like Newport veterans like Sharon Van Etten and Jenny Lewis, Prass and Bartnett have found new ways to juxtapose hard and soft in their music. We’re crossing our fingers to see both in July.
After a rather lengthy hiatus, Ms. Marling has returned to her tales of love, self-reflection, womanhood and all the rest in her full-length album, Short Movie.
Members of the Decemberists + The Minus 5 + Guided By Voices = Eyelids. Need we say more?
Having recently been picked up by Drag Records, Jessica Pratt and her ’60s sentimentalities have the folk and indie audiences caught somewhere between nostalgia and a breath of fresh-folk air.
What would a Newport Wishlist be without a little local love? Of all the Boston folk rock artists who put out an album in 2014, Dailey might be the most deserving of a slot at the historic festival. National Throat was one of our favorite records from last year and we could totally see it translating to a killer set at The Fort this year.
The M&T team will always rep Boston, no questions asked… but there’s something in the water down under, so we’ve got toss some serious love towards Aussie bands as well. Little May, a new group of Sydney, offers three-part harmonies and stunning melodies that would attract an insta-crowd at Newport.
With a new album out, Colin Meloy on the aforementioned festival Board of Advisors, and a bunch of festival dates already announced, this one is a close second in the mortal lock category.
The Swede returns. Years after tattooing his sound on the arm of the post-Nick Drake revival, Gonzalez finds himself anew on his highly anticipated full-length, Vestiges and Claws.
This one is definitely our sleeper pick for 2015. The Icelandic singer Unnar Gísli Sigurmundsson, who performs under the name Júníus Meyvant, hasn’t made a ton of noise stateside, but as we’ve seen in years past that hasn’t stopped producer Jay Sweet from booking acts that on are the cusp. Just imagine this performance of “Color Decay” (which also appeared on our Best Songs of 2014 list) at the Fort and you’ll understand what we mean.