Hear A Preview Of The 2017 Newport Folk Festival : All Songs Considered The festival's executive producer Jay Sweet explains how he picked this year's lineup and why the festival continues to resonate with people more than 50 years after it started.
NPR logo

Newport Folk 2017 Preview: Drive By Truckers, Jim James, John Prine And More

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539040621/539095790" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Newport Folk 2017 Preview: Drive By Truckers, Jim James, John Prine And More

Newport Folk 2017 Preview: Drive By Truckers, Jim James, John Prine And More

Jim James, a frequent performer at the Newport Folk Festival, returns again this year. He's seen here in a set from 2013. Adam Kissick/For NPR music hide caption

toggle caption
Adam Kissick/For NPR music

The Newport Folk Festival can feel like a cross between summer camp and a family reunion. Fans return year after year in no small part because the camaraderie between musicians is unlike most other festivals. You can always count on unusual and memorable collaborations, whether it's Margo Price singing "Me and Bobby McGee" with Kris Kristofferson or Roger Waters singing John Prine songs. There are so many surprises for both musicians and fans, which is one of the reasons the festival sells out every year before anyone even knows who's playing.

This year we'll post live broadcasts from Newport courtesy of TuneIn. We'll also archive and podcast sets in our Live Concert podcast series.

So what's in store this year? Along with headliners John Prine, Fleet Foxes and Wilco, there'll be newcomers like The Wild Reeds, Joseph, Pinegrove, Big Thief and so much more.

To tell us a bit of what's in store for Newport 2017 I called Jay Sweet, the executive producer of the festival. Jay explains how he picked this year's lineup, the importance of giving artists a platform for change and why the festival continues to resonate with people more than 50 years after it started.

Songs Featured On This Episode

Cover for American Band

Drive-By Truckers

  • Song: What It Means
  • from American Band

Jay Sweet, the executive producer of the Newport Folk Festival, says it's a place for families to gather and question and, in the words of the the Drive-by Truckers, not just "shrug and let it happen without asking what it means."

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
American Band
Album
American Band
Artist
Drive-By Truckers
Label
ATO Records
Released
2016

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for Eternally Even

Jim James

  • Song: Here in Spirit
  • from Eternally Even

My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James has been called the spiritual guide or guardian angel of the Newport Folk Festival. In "Here In Spirit," James calls for an uncompromising willingness to get "down on our knees," to build and restore broken communities.

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Eternally Even
Album
Eternally Even
Artist
Jim James
Label
ATO Records
Released
2016

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for The World We Built

The Wild Reeds

  • Song: Only Songs
  • from The World We Built

The Wild Reeds sing breezy, cathartic music with the three-part harmonies of Sharon Silva, Kinsey Lee, and Mackenzie Howe. "Only Songs" is Jay Sweet's ultimate windows-down, rooftop-off track.

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
The World We Built
Album
The World We Built
Artist
The Wild Reeds
Label
Dualtone Music
Released
2017

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for Dancing With Bad Grammar: The Director's Cut

L.A. Salami

  • Song: The City Nowadays
  • from Dancing With Bad Grammar: The Director's Cut

British folk prodigy Lookman Adekunle Salami, otherwise known as L.A. Salami, blends deep, seedy rhythm-and-blues with elements of hip-hop and an unusual singing style that Bob Boilen likens to Dylan.

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Dancing With Bad Grammar: The Director's Cut
Album
Dancing With Bad Grammar: The Director's Cut
Artist
L.A. Salami
Label
Sunday Best Recordings

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for Don't Let The Kids Win

Julia Jacklin

  • Song: Don't Let The Kids Win
  • from Don't Let The Kids Win

Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin is a new face in Americana with an earnestness and striking voice. On "Don't Let the Kids Win," she reflects on growing old and feeling strange.

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Don't Let The Kids Win
Album
Don't Let The Kids Win
Artist
Julia Jacklin
Label
Polyvinyl Records
Released
2016

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Cover for John Prine

John Prine

  • Song: Angel From Montgomery

John Prine is a long-term influence and uniting force in the Newport music community. After a nearly fifty-year career, his music remains magnetic and compelling. Prine headlines on Sunday at Newport, and has invited friends and guests to join him for a special set entitled Speak Out, which celebrates the power of song to fight injustice. "Angel From Montgomery" is a 1971 classic covered many times by many voices.

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
John Prine
Album
John Prine
Artist
John Prine

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?