Our own backyard

'Newport Homegrown' at the Folk Fest and more big doings
By CHRIS CONTI  |  July 18, 2013

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WORK IN PROGRESS The Low Anthem at the Columbus.

The 2013 Newport Folk Fest is fast approaching, and the expanded three-day soiree at Fort Adams State Park will feature some of the finest locally sourced talent courtesy of the Low Anthem’s Jeff Prystowsky and Ben Knox-Miller, who have assembled one hell of a roster as curators of the inaugural “Newport Homegrown” on Friday (the 26th). Plus, quintessential party host John McCauley will helm a trio of (sold-out) Folk Fest after-parties and Joe Fletcher will present his “Nashville to Newport” lineup to the Folk Fest masses on Saturday (the 27th). Here’s a rundown of all the Folk Fest action featuring our local superstars. See you there.

‘Revival! at Newport’ kickoff and a TLA album update

The Low Anthem set up shop in the revamped Columbus Theatre and continue to grind away on their next album while hosting album release parties and recording sessions. Prystowsky and Knox-Miller will load up the Columbus Family Truckster as TLA’s Broadway posse will kick things off Thursday (the 25th) at the Newport Blues Café. “Revival! at Newport” will feature Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons, TLA, and Christopher Paul Stelling, and plenty of “special guests.” Somehow tickets were still available for this show as we went to press, so get yours ASAP at etix.com; snoozing is losing on this one.

Knox-Miller checked in with the scoop on TLA’s follow-up to 2011’s Smart Flesh:

“We have recorded two hours of music. A lot is just gonna be spill off, but there’s some keepers there too. It’s a fun, ridiculous album. A psychedelic folk-noir about a neighborhood kidnapping, loaded with found sounds, field recordings, orchestration, and fireworks.

“We don’t have a date yet. Biding sweet time.”

The Low Anthem Presents. . .

Limited tickets remain for Folk Fest on Friday (the 26th), which will include the fantastic “Newport Homegrown” lineup kicking off around 3 pm on the Museum Stage. Ben and Jeff lined up a grand slam, with four distinct and acclaimed acts playing the Folk Fest for the first time: The Rice Cakes, Vudu Sister, Death Vessel (!), and Last Good Tooth. Knox-Miller described the upcoming all-star soiree as “a revue featuring a cross section of the amazing music budding right in our backyard.”

Vudu Sister is in full bloom right now, led by the incredibly talented singer-songwriter Keith McCurdy. Their new album, Household Items, is hands-down one of the best of the year around these parts, a grungy and dusty departure from the mostly acoustic debut Bastard Children; McCurdy cites “a raw and visceral edge not captured before, due to the limitations of soft, boring, and acoustic melodrama.” I am looking forward to McCurdy melting some faces in the midday sun when he serves up “Daisies” from the new album. Great stuff.

The Rice Cakes are another band on a surefire hot streak as Roz Raskin, Justin Foster, and Casey Belisle recently released a seven-inch single titled “Floor Boards.” The trio have been hard at work on another full-length record at the Columbus, with help from longtime friend and mentor Knox-Miller.

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