Joe Fletcher’s “Nashville to Newport”
Saturday, July 27, 2013
“It is no secret that there is much more to Nashville, Tennessee than it’s incredible music history and the modern radio-friendly “country” music that is often associated with it today. It is still a place where incredible, independent musicians from all over the world meet, collaborate, and eventually can’t help but call home. There is something in the air that draws these people together in Middle Tennessee, and the atmosphere pushes them to excel in whatever brand of music they happen love. In my travels I have spent a good deal of time there, and I have witnessed some of the greatest musical moments of my life in smokey, little East Nashville bars and Lower Broadway honky tonks. It is with great pleasure that I get to introduce and welcome some of my very favorite Nashvillians to the Newport Folk Festival family.
Whether seeing her perform as fiddler for Jason Isbell, Justin Townes Earle, or leading the band through her own gorgeous songs, Amanda Shires is undoubtedly a performer who has been living and breathing her music for a very long time. At age 15, she was playing fiddle in the legendary Texas Playboys and since then her resume has only become more diverse and impressive. I have worn out my copy of her third solo release Carrying Lightning and I couldn’t be more excited to see her back at center stage this year in Newport.
Last October, I saw Andrew open for Jason Isbell in a park in Birmingham, AL. I watched Andrew take the stage with only a guitar in front of thousands waiting to see their headlining local hero. By the end of the first song he had this crowd in the palm of his hand with his cool, measured delivery and songs of a life and love gone sour. American Songwriter selected his 2012 release Worried Man as one of the year’s best.
Derek has hosted me at the renowned $2 Tuesday at The Five Spot in East Nashville countless times and each time he and his band effortlessly stun the house with their special brand of “quietbilly.” His latest record Waiting All Night features an impressive list of guests and has earned the attention of NPR’s All Things Considered.
I first met John in 2007 when we were both booked to play a mutual friend’s going away party on Smith Hill in Providence, RI. Word was already flowing through the city that this was the man to see, and I was very curious if not a little skeptical to know if he was deserving of the hype. That night, the then 22 year old left me with no doubt that he was already a musician and entertainer of the highest order and that I had a lot to learn from him. Whether fronting Deer Tick, Middle Brother, Diamond Rugs or standing alone with his guitar, you can’t help but know you’ve crossed paths with a man that is truly one of a kind.
Joshua Black Wilkins
My first encounter with Joshua came a few years back when he opened for Justin Townes Earle in Northampton, MA. I was immediately drawn to his jarringly honest songs of heartache and betrayal and his take it or leave it attitude. He is as direct and focused as you will ever find, and his brand new record Fair Weather is only more proof that this man is a master of his trade.
With his band or alone with a guitar and stomp box, Patrick Sweany is a world class party starter. He summons Rev. Gary Davis, Joe Tex, and Little Richard, but never loses sight of telling his own story. He is a true blue rock n’ soul man to the core and one of the finest guitar players alive today. With two Dan Auerbach-produced records under his belt and his new record Close to the Floor coming July 15, there is no better time to board this train.
When you see Shelly take the stage, you may be reminded of one of several of country music’s greatest. Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Emmylou Harris all jumped to my mind at last year’s SXSW. Her timelessness and achingly beautiful melodies have attracted collaborators such as Old Crow Medicine Show. Her 2012 record Up the Hickory Down the Pine is the perfect document of this true original.
On their debut EP The Intoxicating Sounds of Pedal Steel & Guitar, Spencer Cullum Jr. and Jeremy Fetzer take the pedal steel vs. Telecaster bottle fight to the next level. You’ll hear them effortlessly slide from dreamy surf to 50′s raunch to blown-out talk box psychedelia. You may have seen one of these gentlemen backing up Jonny Fritz, Caitlin Rose, or Andrew Combs, but on this day they will rightly be at center stage. They floored me this past January at The Basement in Nashville, and I’ll be surprised if this blend of classic musicianship and fresh adventures is not one of the most talked about sets at the festival this year.
This past March I wandered in to friend’s sock shop in Manhattan just as RayLand was plugging in his amplifier to play a few songs. Before this, I had only met him in passing and had never heard him sing. Within seconds I was drawn in by his undeniably honest manner and songs that sound as though they were delivered in a dream rather than written. His debut record Feathers and Fishhooks is a perfect document of a man who is clearly more interested in the journey and unconcerned with the destination.
Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons
As we put the finishing touches of our third album You’ve Got the Wrong Man (August 2013), The Wrong Reasons and I are very grateful to be returning for our second straight Newport Folk Festival appearance. It is made all the more special that we will be backing up some of our favorite Nashville musicians as well as collaborating with them on our own material. The possibilities set by this particular collection of artists guarantee a magical atmosphere that is, to me, what the true spirit of the Newport Folk Festival is all about.
We truly cannot wait for this day to come.”
– Joe Fletcher
Artists and schedule are subject to change.