Field Recordings

Benjamin Booker: Newport Folk Gets The Summertime Blues

It wouldn't be an overstatement to suggest that New Orleans singer-songwriter Benjamin Booker had a pretty good summer. Even before releasing his debut album last month, Booker's gravelly voice and bluesy swagger had guitar fans buzzing with anticipation. It didn't hurt that he'd nabbed a gig touring as the opening act for Jack White, one of his idols.

With a borrowed acoustic guitar, Booker joined us outside one of the secluded secret tunnels in the heart of Fort Adams State Park after his set at this year's Newport Folk Festival. While we were setting up for this Field Recording, Booker offhandedly mentioned that a few years prior, he'd applied to become an NPR Music intern. He didn't get that gig, but he told us that missing out spurred his desire to explore another side of his passion for music.

Even after his tuner took an ill-fated tumble down an ancient drainage pipe, Booker found a way to perform his new single, "Have You Seen My Son?"

Set List
  • "Have You Seen My Son"
Credits

Producers: Mito Habe-Evans, Saidah Blount; Videographers: Mito Habe-Evans, Colin Marshall, Nick Michael; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Special Thanks: Newport Folk Festival/Jay Sweet, Mark and Rachel Dibner of the Argus Fund, and our partners: WFUV, Folk Alley, MVY Radio; Executive Producer: Anya Grundmann.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Tift Merritt Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Tift Merritt On Mountain Stage

The alt-country singer-songwriter plays old and new material, both solo and with the house band.

Listen Loading… 25:52
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/465460741/465461098" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Rodrigo Amarante performs live at Pickathon for OPB. Kristina Moravec/OPB hide caption

toggle caption Kristina Moravec/OPB

Favorite Sessions

Rodrigo Amarante, 'ManĂ¡' (Live)

opbmusic.org

The Brazilian singer performs an upbeat song on a stage made of branches at Pickathon in Oregon.

Palehound performs at NPR's 2015 CMJ Showcase, which took place at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City on Oct 14, 2015. Loren Wohl for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Loren Wohl for NPR

Front Row

Palehound, Live In Concert

Ellen Kempner's band marries rock muscle to bedroom folk's wiry vulnerability. Watch a full set.

DIIV performs live at the Pickathon Woods Stage for opbmusic. Christopher Sohler/Pickathon hide caption

toggle caption Christopher Sohler/Pickathon

Favorite Sessions

DIIV, 'Yr Not Far/Dopamine' (Live)

opbmusic.org

The Brooklyn guitar band segues from "Yr Not Far" into "Dopamine," a frank song about addiction.

JR JR performs live at Sonos Studio for KCRW. Erik Voake/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Erik Voake/KCRW

Favorite Sessions

JR JR, 'Gone' (Live)

KCRW

Watch the band once known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. whistle through "Gone" at L.A.'s Sonos Studio.

Son Little performs a set at NPR's 2015 CMJ showcase, which took place at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City on Oct. 14, 2015. Loren Wohl for NPR hide caption

toggle caption Loren Wohl for NPR

Front Row

Son Little, Live In Concert

The Philadelphia singer-guitarist's trio showed up at a New York club gig in a blues-rock mood.

Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor