In anticipation of the Newport Folk Festival this weekend, NPR has released five tracks from five up-and-coming folk acts who will be playing at the event. The songs are streaming on the NPR website and are also available for free download.
NPR chose some very unique tracks to highlight. "Hail Hail" from the husband-and-wife duo Shovels & Rope draws on a variety of influences with its distorted guitar riffs underlaying a loose and sleazy horn section. "Blank Maps" by Cold Specks showcases Canadian lead singer Al Spx's soaring and masterfully articulate voice, which NPR's Stephen Thompson calls "gorgeous."
"You Never Need Nobody," from the Brooklyn-based group The Lone Bellow, is perhaps the most straightforwardly-folky of the five. Gospel choir harmonies, poetic lyrics, and rumbling guitars come together for a very memorable track. British hardcore-rocker-turned-folk-musician Frank Turner is another promising artist with diverse influences. He sings about his addiction woes with raw emotion and bracing honesty on the excellent "Recovery." Last but not least is Hurray For The Riff Raff's "Look Out Mama." The standout on this track is definitely lead singer Alyndra Lee Segarra's unique voice, which sounds soulful and breezy even when she yodels.
Don't miss these great tracks, and head over to the NPR website this weekend for live broadcasts from the festival itself.