Mavis Staples and Special Guests, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Tweedy and More Close Out Newport Folk
Soul legend Mavis Staples was joined by a host of special guests as she closed out the Newport Folk Festival yesterday. Staples, who was celebrating her 75th birthday (which actually took place earlier this month), was first joined by Lucius for a cover of Talking Heads’ “Slippery People” early in the show. Jeff Tweedy and his bandmates were the next group to help out when they took the stage for “ You Are Not Alone,” the title track from Staples 2010 Tweedy-produced LP. Norah Jones and Trampled by Turtles then came out for a take on the classic hymn “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” before Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith replaced the TBT guys for The Band’s “The Weight.” Mavis was then joined by Muscle Shoals keyboardist Spooner Oldham, who helped out on “Let’s Do It Again” and “I’ll Take You There.” The show wrapped up with the festival final tribute to Pete Seeger, as Staples was joined by all of the previous guests, Houndmouth and more for “We Shall Overcome.”
Jeff Tweedy got some help from Lucius for most of his set on the main Fort Stage. Tweedy noted that the singers provided the backing vocals for his forthcoming debut solo album, which he recorded with the help of his son Spencer (who also plays in his backing band). Toward the end of the set, Tweedy was joined by Staples for a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Wrote a Song for Everyone” and “Only The Lord Knows.” Earlier in the day, Dawes played to a solid crowd before backing Conor Oberst during his set on the same stage.
Rodrigo y Gabriela sent the Quad Stage into a frenzy as they closed out the tent. The pair seemed visibly ecstatic as they delivered dueling guitar renditions of plenty of originals, as well as a cover of Metallica’s “Orion” and a few teases of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.” Their performance was preceded by a low-key set from Trampled by Turtles and a crowd-pleaser from Hurray for the Riff Raff. The New Orleans-based folk collective got some help from their fellow New Orleanians The Deslondes, who joined them for a take on Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer” and a set-closing “Little Black Star.”
Lucero wrapped things up at the Harbor Stage following a show from Valerie June. The stage also featured sets by Irish indie-rocker Hozier, as well as Pegi Young & The Survivors, Caitlin Rose and The Deslondes. Over at the Museum Stage, comedian Ed Helms and his Bluegrass Situation led attendees through a number of workshops from Shakey Graves with Chris Funk and Mandolin Orange with The Lonesome Trio, as well as Aoife Donovan and and Wille Watson with Sara Watkins.