Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky, and Jocie Adams of The Low Anthem. i
Courtesy of the artist
Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky, and Jocie Adams of The Low Anthem.
Courtesy of the artist

Newport Folk Festival

The Low Anthem: Newport Folk 2009

The Low Anthem: Newport Folk 2009
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111366763/111465993" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Low Anthem was formed in 2006 by two friends and Brown University classmates — folk musician and painter Ben Knox Miller and baseball fanatic and jazz bassist Jeff Prystowski — and joined the next year by composer and NASA technician Jocie Adams. The disparate interests and careers (art, Americana and technology) of the three might be semaphore for the band's restless experimentation. On-stage, the trio is known to pass around multiple instruments during a single set, and to change a song drastically from one performance to another.

Describing his band's music, Miller has said, "Our arrangements are ever-changing, as are the instruments we take with us on the road. We try hard to keep it that way. Always trying to be in the state of discovery, rather than self-imitation."

Without help from a record label, The Low Anthem put out a self-titled debut in 2006 and followed it with What the Crow Brings in 2007. Each of the two albums is a lovely, quiet, jazz-inflected affair, and each kept the band squarely at cult-status levels. That would change in 2008, when The Low Anthem self-released a third disc that was subsequently snatched up for re-release by Nonesuch Records. Already pegged as one of 2009's top albums (according to reliable sources), The Low Anthem's Oh My God, Charlie Darwin shows the band turning its weary, haunted Americana into a balancing act of awe and anxiety, mapped by the simple but evocative push/pull of the title's struggle between religion and science.

The Low Anthem is spending the summer touring the U.S.; it'll play dates with fellow Newport Folk Festival acts Joe Pug and Langhorne Slim following the festival. A European tour is planned for the fall.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Newport Folk Festival

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear perform at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The mother-and-son duo radiated easy familiarity and sincerity during this charming afternoon set.

Madisen Ward And The Mama Bear, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/429049449/434694125" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Brandi Carlile performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Brandi Carlile, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Hear the folk-rock powerhouse perform candid, emotional songs from The Firewatcher's Daughter.

Brandi Carlile, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/429333796/434691259" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Luluc performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Luluc, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

An Australian duo spending time in Brooklyn makes quiet, intimate, yearning music.

Luluc, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427188612/429080001" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Sturgill Simpson performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Sturgill Simpson, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Listen to the outlaw country singer's high-octane, honky-tonking set.

Sturgill Simpson, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427719252/427796611" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Lord Huron's Ben Schneider performs live at the Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Lord Huron, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The Los Angeles band's Newport Folk set was jubilant and loud.

Lord Huron, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/427193739/427194962" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Courtney Barnett performs at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Courtney Barnett, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

The rising Australian rock star went electric and then some this weekend at Newport.

Listen to Highlights From The Concert
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426710883/426713214" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jason Isbell smiles during a performance at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Jason Isbell, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Spirits were high Saturday as Isbell performed songs from his new album, Something More Than Free.

Jason Isbell, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426505568/426556257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Tallest Man On Earth performed Friday at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

The Tallest Man On Earth, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Swedish songwriter Kristian Matsson gave a performance worthy of his stage name on Friday.

The Tallest Man On Earth, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426247490/426248213" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Lone Bellow performed Friday night at the 2015 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

The Lone Bellow, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015

Listen to the band's soaring Friday set, featuring guest appearances by Leon Bridges and Lucius.

The Lone Bellow, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2015
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/426245527/426246074" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top