Denise Brown of Campbell Brothers performs at the Newport Folk Festival. Wiqan Ang hide caption

toggle caption
Wiqan Ang

Denise Brown of Campbell Brothers performs at the Newport Folk Festival.

Wiqan Ang

Campbell Brothers: Newport Folk 2009

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111390460/111478413" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

If you've never heard of the genre Sacred Steel, the gospel tradition developed in African-American House of God Pentecostal churches in the 1930s, let the Campbell Brothers serve as an introduction. Chuck Campbell plays pedal steel; his brothers Darick and Phil Campbell play lap steel and electric guitar, respectively; and Phil's son Carlton Campbell plays drums. The music they make melds the shuffle and thump of blues with gospel tradition, with the elastic notes played on the brothers' steel guitars echoing the sound of the human voice.

Fittingly for a religious organization that cites passages from Psalms — "Praise him with stringed instruments" and "Let them praise his name in the dance" — the House of God, Keith Dominion church developed a rocking musical language as the backbone of its form of devotion. In the last decade, the tradition has spread beyond the church, as groups like the Campbell Brothers have begun to play for enthusiastic secular audiences. In a history of the genre by Robert L. Stone, Chuck is quoted as saying, "The music transcends the church. People jump just as much outside of the church as they do at church... We're finding that this music celebrates not only the way we look at things spiritually, but the way everyone looks at their inner self."

The Campbell Brothers' catalog includes five albums, the most recent of which is 2005's Can You Feel It? The set features traditional gospel songs, covers and Campbell originals. The brothers play at their father's church in Rush, N.Y., and at blues festivals around the world.

Set List
  • "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around"
  • "The Judgement"
  • "Change Is Gonna Come"
  • "Morning Train"
  • "I'll Fly Away"
  • "Lord, I Just Want to Thank You"
[+] 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

Hear the country singer blaze through a set that demonstrates she's forging her own path.

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

Baker's ragged-edged voice and ringing Telecaster were all it took to win over the Newport audience.

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

The Beyoncé and Jack White collaborator combined vulnerability with swagger in her Newport set.

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

Hear Costello perform with several special guests, including Glen Hansard and Middle Brother.

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.

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," Shelley said of her set.

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

Hear the off-again, on-again rock band's careening, playful acoustic set.

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