The Top 15 Artists We’re Excited To See At Newport Folk Festival


Videos by American Songwriter


Beck (6:15-7:30, Fort Stage)

If someone had told twenty years ago that the author of “Steve Threw Up” was going to be one of the elder-statesmen of American music we would have laughed right in your face. But a lot has transpired in the last two decades and the former way-outsider has developed into one of the most consistently challenging and inspiring artists of our generation.

Ramblin’ Jack Elliot (1:55-2:55, Fort Stage)

The paterfamilia of the folk movement and one of the art form’s most essential interpreters, Ramblin’ Jack’s legacy stretches over 60 years and intersects with everyone from Woody Guthrie to Bob Dylan to Phil Ochs. The man’s influence on American music can not be overstated and his impact as a performer has only broaden as time moves on.

Bonnie Prince Billy and Dawn McCarthy (5:40-6:40, Harbor Tent)

If the pairing of Faun Fables’ Dawn McCarthy and Will “Bonnie Prince Billy” Oldham wasn’t enough to warrant a top spot in our hearts an entire album of Everly Brothers’ cover certainly is. The duo’s album What the Brother Sang tackles one of the greatest, most influential catalogs in history with aplomb and is a must listen for devotees American songcraft.

Michael Kiwanuka (3:20-4:20, Fort Stage)

This British singer-songwriter’s 2012 debut Home Again was one of the years most breathtaking breakouts, a dreamy, jazzy journey into to folk-soul that harkened back to the glory days of Bill Withers and Scott Walker. His live performances are enrapturing affairs of subtle beauty and stirring sounds.

Bombino (2:55-3:55, Harbor Tent)

Tuareg guitarist Bombino has come a long way since his Sublime Frequencies’ debut Guitars from Agadez, Vol 2 — halfway around the world to be exact. Bombino’s hypnotic, electrifying sound is equal parts Sub-Saharan tradition and psychedelic trailblazing and his Nonesuch debut Nomad, produced by Black Keys Dan Auerbach, is one of the year’s best.

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