Tim Eriksen: Newport Folk Festival 2009

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Tim Eriksen performs at Newport Folk. i i

hide captionTim Eriksen performs at the Newport Folk Festival.

Wiqan Ang
Tim Eriksen performs at Newport Folk.

Tim Eriksen performs at the Newport Folk Festival.

Wiqan Ang

"Shape note singing" is a four-part a cappella style based on the solfege syllables (fa, sol, la, etc.) with which the notes of the musical scale are sung. Documented in the 1844 publication of The Sacred Harp, this style of sacred music is still practiced in the regions of the American South in which it was pioneered.

Consider it surprising, then, that a former hardcore punk rocker would find musical kinship in such an old-time style. Tim Eriksen spent much of the '80s and '90s playing at the legendary CBGBs, but soon began to explore American folk music with his band, Cordelia's Dad. With the Shape Note Singers, these routes and detours strike up a compelling connection between the past and present. They were recently featured on the Awake, My Soul soundtrack, a documentary about The Sacred Harp. Eriksen performed at Folk Festival 50's Harbor Stage on Sunday.

Set List

"Farewell to Old Bedford"



"Bonny Bay of Biscayo"

"Wayfaring Stranger"

"Amazing Grace"

"Sandy Boys"


"Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah"

"Cavalry" (Sacret Harp singing)


"Heavenly Armor"

"Bottom - Idumea"


"I'll Seek His Blessing"



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