Favorite Sessions

Folk Alley Presents: Della MaeFolk Alley

The relationship between songs and poetry is often symbiotic, with some songwriters going so far as to lift entire verses from poems. Della Mae musician Celia Woodsmith discovered an intergenerational connection between her family and the poem "The Hound Of Heaven" by Francis Thompson. Her grandfather was so struck by it that he took to reading it to his children. Decades later, Woodsmith's mother recalled these readings in an essay that inspired Woodsmith to take up the family tradition, writing a song based on the essay for her Grammy-nominated string band Della Mae. The result — an arresting, defiant tune about staring down death and finding hope in the face of fear — features stellar vocal harmonies and a spirited solo from fiddler Kimber Ludiker.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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Lonnie Holley performs at the 2014 Pickathon festival. David Blanchard/opbmusic hide caption

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Favorite Sessions

Lonnie Holley, 'Kilimanjaro Eyes'

Watch the singer perform "Kilimanjaro Eyes" on the Woods Stage at the 2014 Pickathon festival.

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