Josh Ritter: Newport Folk 2009

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111388722/111477577" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Josh Ritter released what many call his masterpiece in 2006: His folk-rock opus The Animal Years is a meticulously constructed album of protest songs that seem somehow to exist both in the real world and in one of Ritter's own imagination. In it, he manages to compare Laurel and Hardy with the Apostles Peter and Paul, and barely heard tunes on a car radio to the Stations of the Cross. In Ritter's half-sung, half-spoken vocals and unlikely first-person songs, Bob Dylan's influence shines through, as in the nearly 10-minute "Thin Blue Flame," but Ritter is far less sardonic — and more likely to pull back for a wider view of the way the world's injustices meet up with its beauty.

Ritter's 2007 album The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter adds urgency and distortion to his reading of modern Americana (without losing the anachronistic pop-culture references; one song, "To the Dogs or Whoever," drops Florence Nightingale, Joan of Arc and Calamity Jane into the belly of Jonah's whale), and last year's Live at the 9:30 Club puts those songs in front of an audience in Washington, D.C. Ritter has been touring the Midwest this summer, and will play a handful of shows in the U.K. in September.

Set List
  • "Wildfires"
  • "Wolves"
  • "Rumors"
  • "Empty Hearts"
  • "Girl in the War"
  • "Right Moves"
  • "Real Long Distance"
  • "Another New World"
  • "Lillian, Egypt/Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da"
  • "Hello Starling (Snow Is Gone)"
  • "To the Dogs or Whoever"
[+] read more[-] less

More From Newport Folk Festival

Margo Price performs at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Margo Price, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

The country singer, who's been compared to Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette, blazed through a set that demonstrated she's forging her own path. Hear the full concert.

Margo Price, Live In Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488567946/489335199" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Julien Baker performs at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Julien Baker, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

The 20-year-old Memphian's ragged-edged voice and ringing Telecaster were all it took to win over the Newport audience. Hear her solo set.

Julien Baker, Live In Concert

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488354526/488544443" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ruby Amanfu performs at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Ruby Amanfu, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

You heard her fierce background vocals on Beyoncé's Lemonade. In Amanfu's Newport set, she combined vulnerability with swagger in a way that evoked the pioneering women of rock 'n' roll.

Ruby Amanfu, Live In Concert

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/488261018/488366726" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

From left: Rebecca Lovell, Elvis Costello, Glen Hansard, Conor O'Brien and Megan Lovell at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Josh Wool for Newport Folk Festival hide caption

toggle caption Josh Wool for Newport Folk Festival

Newport Folk Festival

Elvis Costello, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

Joined by guests including Glen Hansard and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Costello performs songs from every chapter of his extensive catalog.

Elvis Costello, Live At Newport Folk 2016

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487843423/487843997" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

River Whyless performs at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Bob Boilen/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Bob Boilen/NPR

Newport Folk Festival

River Whyless, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

The folk-pop band builds mountains out of sensitive harmony lines at the Newport Folk Festival. Kam Franklin of Houston soul band The Suffers joined them on a Woody Guthrie-Wilco cover.

River Whyless, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487320023/487374592" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Joan Shelley performing at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Joan Shelley, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

"These are the smallest songs you'll hear at this folk festival this year, I think," Shelley said of her set with guitarist Nathan Salsburg. Small songs, perhaps, but each one contained a world.

Joan Shelley, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487324284/487390566" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, with Matthew Logan Vasquez, perform at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

The rootsy soul band worked through simmering soul grooves and hip-swinging honky-tonk.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

Audio is no longer available

Ryan Adams performs at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Ryan Adams, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

The Newport favorite brought along some special guests for Saturday's most anticipated set.

Ryan Adams, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487235301/487257799" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

St. Paul & the Broken Bones perform live at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

Listen to the rollicking soul band perform songs from its upcoming sophomore album, Sea Of Noise.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487150344/487170813" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Violent Femmes perform at the 2016 Newport Folk Festival. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

Newport Folk Festival

Violent Femmes, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

The off-again, on-again rock band from Milwaukee, Wisc., built a careening, playful set around mainstays like "Blister In The Sun" and new songs like "I Could Be Anything."

Violent Femmes, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/487149521/487170600" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top