Sunday, July 28, 2013
“Collaboration is the life blood of Newport Folk. The festival has always been more about artists playing with one another than occupying any one spotlight. With a rich history of song circles and workshops, Newport continues to celebrate community and musical diversity.
Black Prairie weaves seamlessly into this narrative. Started by the Decembrists’ Chris Funk (dobro) and Nate Query (bass) as living room jam sessions when they weren’t touring, Black Prairie has grown into a sort of Portland supergroup with the additions of the Decembrists’ Jenny Conlee (accordian), Dolorean’s John Neufeld (guitar), and Bearfoot’s Annalisa Tornfelt (vocals and fiddle). What comes out of this Americana melting pot is a unique, expansive soundscape with influences ranging from appalachian folk and bluegrass to gypsy and klezmer.
Most of Black Pairie’s first album, Feast of the Hunter’s Moon, is an instrumental journey – evoking such a cinematic sense at times that it feels like a bluegrass spaghetti western. And with their second release, A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart, the addition of the driving drums of Decembrists’ John Moen with Tornfelt’s lofty vocals adds an emotionally rich layer to their music. There is a palpable earnestness in songs like “How Do You Ruin Me” and “Rock of Ages”. The thread that bridges both albums for me is the sense of boundless exploration and freedom that the players express when they come together.
They have often said that they play for music’s sake and have no aspirations beyond having fun. To that we say, we couldn’t be happier to have them grace our front-porch.”
– Christopher Capotosto
Creative Director of the Newport Folk Festival
Artists and schedule are subject to change.