Newport, Rhode Island was the place to be this past weekend if you were looking for
musical collaborations. While the Newport Folk Festival generally finds numerous artists
cross-pollinating throughout its run, the official Newport Folk after-shows also got into
the communal spirit of things. While Deer Tick was holding court at the intimate Newport
Blues Café, and welcoming the likes of Jason Isbell, Vanessa Carlton and Bobby Bare Jr. to
the stage with them, their pals and former tour-mates Dawes were holed-
up at the Jane Pickens Theater. For the second year in a row the Los Angeles-based band
took up residency at the 435-seat theater for a two-night, guest-heavy run with proceeds
benefiting the Newport Festivals Foundation.
On Friday night Taylor Goldsmith & Co. leaned heavily on songs from their catalog,
welcoming Old Crow Medicine Show, Milk Carton Kids, Houndmouth, Tim & Nicki Bluhm and
guitarist Blake Mills to assist them on tunes from their three studio albums.
Saturday night saw things get a bit looser, as Dawes brought out even more guests - Jason
Isbell, Father John Misty and Langhorne Slim - offering up a slew of cover songs with
takes on tunes from Neil Young, R.E.M., Warren Zevon, JJ Cale, The Traveling Wilburys,
Waylon Jennings and more. The band also welcomed out My Morning Jacket front man Jim James, who
has become somewhat the face and spirit of the Newport Folk Fest over the last few years.
James, who this year only got to spend one day in Newport as his band had a night off from
the AmericanaramA tour, offered up a solo set at the Fort earlier in day, while he also
joined Dawes to sing lead on a pair of tunes at the Pickens Theater. The MMJ lead singer
offered up a faithful take on Bruce Springsteen’s "Hungry Heart," from The Boss’ 1980
double-album The River, as well as an extended and impassioned version of Bill
Withers' signature tune "Lean On Me" off the soul-singer’s sophomore effort Still
Let’s check them out…
Dawes will continue their road warrior ways as they will head out for a
lengthy fall tour, which kicks off on September 19 with a free show at in Kent, OH on
the campus of Kent State University.
Written By: Jeffrey Greenblatt