The Newport Folk Lineup Is The Most Eclectic Yet

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embed-ryan-adamsPhoto: Courtesy of Lost Highway.
By definition, folk music is music for the people, and in 2014 America, the people get down to lots of different sounds. You can bop to Miley, dig the Mumfords, and even blast the occasional metal album without getting weird looks, and that’s what makes this year’s mad-eclectic Newport Folk Festival an essential summer pilgrimage.

It’s not just three days of sensitive chicks and dudes strumming acoustic guitars, though there are plenty of terrific singer-songwriters on the bill. Newport ’14 skews rootsy but presents a good picture of where music is right now, and it’s way worth a drive to Rhode Island.

Scheduled for July 25 through 27, Newport boasts one of the summer’s more diverse festival lineups, as headliners include resurgent alt-rock hero Ryan Adams, crazy-pants garage-rock chameleon Jack White, and R&B legend Mavis Staples. Other notable acts include reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, pop-bluegrass faves Nickel Creek, Wilco main man Jeff Tweedy, grungy Americana bashers Deer Tick, and Philly’s kings of blissed-out highway-ready Petty-esque wooze-rock, Kurt Vile and the Violators. Also, two of the best songwriters of the last 15 years: Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst.

Oberst, of course, was once tapped as the “new Dylan,” so it’s fitting the Bright Eyes mastermind play the festival where Bob notoriously “went electric” in ’65 and changed the face of rock ‘n’ roll forever. These days, plugging in ain’t no thang, and when those trippy folk-pop pups in Phox take the stage, they won’t have to worry about getting booed.

Neither will nimble-fingered Mexican Flamenco-metal duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, the Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir, or actor John C. Reilly, who recorded a mighty fine 2011 single for Jack White’s Third Man imprint.

Speaking of Third Man, the label will be on hand promoting spoken-word poetry via readers from Language Lessons Volume 1, a book of modern poems and prose released earlier this year. The learning continues over on the Museum Stage, where a series of “For Pete’s Sake” performances and workshops will celebrate the legacy of late troubadour Pete Seeger, a man who defined folk music for generations.

Check the full lineup after the jump, then start making those travel plans. Bonus points for anyone who gets there by hitching or hopping a boxcar.
embed-jackwhitePhoto: Courtesy of Columbia.
Ryan Adams
Jack White
Mavis Staples
Band of Horses
Nickel Creek
Jeff Tweedy
Jimmy Cliff
Kurt Vile and The Violators
Conor Oberst
Jenny Lewis
Deer Tick
Rodrigo y Gabriela
Sun Kil Moon
Shovels & Rope
Dawes
Robert Hunter
The Milk Carton Kids
Trampled By Turtles
Devil Makes Three
Pokey Lafarge
Hurray For The Riff Raff
Lake Street Dive
Puss N Boots
Lucero
Reignwolf
Lucius
Pegi Young & The Survivors
Noah Gundersen
Houndmouth
Gregory Alan Isakov
Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer
J. Roddy Walston & The Business
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
Phox
Shakey Graves
Valerie June
Death Vessel
John Reilly & Friends
Hozier
Mandolin Orange
The Haden Triplets
The Lonesome Trio
Tall Tall Trees
The Oh Hellos
Caitlin Rose
Communion
Aoife O'Donovan
Ages and Ages
For Pete's Sake
Willie Watson
Leif Vollebekk
Benjamin Booker
The Deslondes
Berklee Gospel & Roots Choir
The Bluegrass Situation
Language Lessons V.1