More Than Meh

A blog about the good things of life.

Concert Venue Bucket List August 21, 2015

Filed under: Concerts,Music,Travel — dwhren @ 8:01 am

As I often write about seeing live music, it should be no surprise to anyone that I have a bucket list of concert venues at which I would love to see a concert at some point. There’s not that many of them, so getting to them all is totally feasible. I just need to start making the effort to do it.

At the top of my list is the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. It’s probably been close to 20 years since I first found out that Red Rocks existed and have wanted to go there every since. Not only does it look like an amazing venue built into gorgeous red rocks in the area, but they play host to an amazing line up of artists every season. I came the closest I’ve ever been to going this summer. I was in Colorado Springs for a conference this June and I was hoping there would be someone I wanted to see playing at the same time. Unfortunately there wasn’t, but I was super sad that Ryan Adams was playing two days after I left. Alas, I didn’t have a good enough reason to stick around that long to see him. I guess I’ll just have to plan a Colorado trip specifically to go to Red Rocks sometime soon.

A good number of the venues on this list are in or around the Nashville area, so I can probably knock them all out in one well planned trip. As a lover of country music I of course have on my list the home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Ryman Auditorium. It would be an honor to sit in that place where so many legends of country music have played.

You may of course guess that this also means I would love to see a show at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. It’s an intimate venue playing host to up and coming and hopeful singer/songwriters. I remember first learning about the Bluebird Cafe from the 1993 movie The Thing Called Love. It starred River Phoenix right before his death, Dulmot Mulroney, Samantha Mathis, and Sandra Bullock shortly before she hit it big with Speed. I adored this movie about some country singers trying to make it big in Nashville. The Bluebird Cafe featured in it prominently, and I have wanted to go there ever since I saw it. Now of course the Bluebird shows up regularly in the tv show Nashville, which has just increased my desire to make it there.

About an hour and a half outside of Nashville is a place called Cumberland Caverns. They host concerts there under a series called Bluegrass Underground. I became aware of it a few years ago when I saw some video they recorded for the series they broadcast under that name on PBS. Of course my sucktastic local PBS station (seriously MPT is the worst) of course doesn’t air it, but I’ve seen some short portions of a few of the concerts online. It looks like an amazing experience to see some live bluegrass music played underground in a cavern.

Speaking of PBS and concert series, at some point I’d like to make it back to Austin and actually get to see a taping of Austin City Limits. The concert series itself is more historic at this point than the venue, which moved about four years ago. When we were in Austin last fall sadly there wasn’t really anything going on there. I guess it’s a good reason to go back to Austin at some point and eat my weight in barbecue again.

Venues that are built into natural settings with gorgeous views are held high in my esteem, which leads to my final two venues The Greek Theatre and the Gorge Amphitheatre. The Greek Theatre is built inside of Griffith Park in Los Angeles. It’s styled like an old Greek theatre. It looks like a pretty cool place to see a show. Finally, on my list is the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. It is often voted one of the best outdoor concert venues. It’s built at the foothills of the Cascade mountains overlooking the Columbia River. The pictures I’ve seen of it look amazing. It holds over 27,000 people and plays host as such to a lot of music festivals. I suspect if I ever do get there I would need to be very selective about what I saw. I don’t like dealing with that many people and especially not that many drunk and high people, so a music festival is out. I’d have to see if there was something else that was a little less intense to attend before I could ever commit to seeing something at that particular venue.

My husband is probably groaning reading this because he probably wants to go with me to exactly none of these places, so I’m sure he’d love to plan all our future vacations around visiting them.

 

Deutschland 83 August 18, 2015

Filed under: Pop Culture,Television — dwhren @ 7:38 am

This summer SundanceTV added Deutschland 83 to it’s incredible slate of television programming. I have yet to be disappointed by a show I’ve watched on that channel. Deutschland 83 is a German show that as the name suggests takes place in 1983 during the Cold War. It centers on an East German soldier who is somewhat forced to become a spy by his aunt. He begins impersonating a West German soldier who is the assistant to one of the heads of the West German army in order to find out if the United States and West Germany are planning a nuclear attack.

It’s an incredibly smart show with lots of compelling spy craft as well as a lot of well drawn characters. They do a really good job of building suspense even around events that you already know the outcome of. In addition to all the intrigue provided by the spy stories there are many personal stories woven into the show, and it’s especially interesting to see how they examine how Martin who starts off very dedicated to the East German cause experiences West Germany and all the freedom and consumerism that exists there that he has never experienced before.

The show is in fact in German with English subtitles, so it’s not something you can just throw on in the background and half pay attention to. I spend the majority of my time watching tv multi-tasking, which since that doesn’t really exist, means I often find myself having no idea what is happening when I’m watching an intricately plotted show like this. I appreciate that I was forced to give my full attention to this show. It certainly deserved it. There’s no official word yet if there will be another season, but I certainly hope there is. If not, I felt like the major stories got tied up enough to leave me satisfied while still leaving enough threads hanging for a second season if it should occur. The show has concluded its run of the first season at this point. I’m not sure where it’s available to watch at this point, but I definitely suggest seeking it out. It was by far my favorite television show of this summer.

 

Hot Fun in the Summer Time August 17, 2015

Filed under: Concerts,Food,Friends,Music — dwhren @ 7:41 am

I didn’t have the time or desire to sit down and write any individual posts about some of the things that made me happy last week, so here’s a quick round up post about them all.

  1. Tuesday night I headed back to Wolf Trap for the third time this season. Given the distance from Baltimore and the traffic on a weeknight I normally don’t go more than once a summer, so it was a real treat to get down there so many times this year. This time I went with some friends to see needtobreathe and their Compadres tour featuring Colony House, Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, and Switchfood. I was really just in it for needtobreathe. I had never heard Colony House or Drew Holcomb and already knew I didn’t like Switchfoot. Colony House wasn’t bad. I didn’t like Drew Holcomb quite as much. Probably neither group are people I’d listen to much again. The only Switchfoot song I ever really knew was that song “Dare You to Move” which was practically impossible to escape in the early 2000s. I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like it now. They sing that type of late 90s/early 00s rock that I just never took to. The lead singer’s persona rubbed me the wrong way. I’m sure it was more genuine 15 years ago when he was in his mid-20s but now that he’s in his late 30s and he’s still acting like that it’s kind of ridiculous. At any rate sitting through the first three bands was totally worth it for the needtobreathe part of the evening. I really enjoy their music and they put on a great show. Plus you know, you can’t go wrong sitting outside sitting listening to live music at Wolf Trap. Double bonus that all forecasts to the contrary leading up to the event the rain moved out and we didn’t have to spend the evening all wet.
  2. Wednesday night I had some awesome fun playing kickball. Instead of our normal Wednesday night bible study, my smallgroup got together with people from three other smallgroups from our church to play kickball. It was beautiful weather for it, and it was a great time hanging out with friends and getting a little competitive but not too much. Previous to this I don’t really remember when the last time I played kickball was. Maybe not since elementary school, though possibly middle school. I’ve never been much for team sports. I’m not super athletic, and people rightly always chose me as one of the last people when we picked teams in gym class. I didn’t have to suffer through that this time since we just counted off to form teams. Apparently my years of not playing kickball have actually improved my skill since I somehow managed to score 2 of the 7 runs my team got. We sadly lost by a point, but it was fun nonetheless. We finished off the evening with the ice cream from The Charmery. It was a perfect summer night.
  3. Saturday I finally made it up to meet my friends Kevin and Tracie’s new baby. He is already two months old. I was starting to worry he might graduate from high school before I got to meet him. My schedule has been crazy this summer and the few times I was free they were traveling. This weekend we finally managed to coordinate something. I went up to their house and Tracie and I took the baby with us to the MD BBQ Bash in Bel Air. It’s an annual event there, which I had never been to. I can’t say I found it exciting enough to go out of my way to attend again, but I got to enjoy some bbq and spend some time with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. After that we headed back to their place and spent some time lounging about in their pool while the kids were napping. That was lovely. It was the perfect pool weather. Again it was a lovely summer afternoon.
  4. After leaving Kevin and Tracie’s house I made it home in time to get to the T-Mobile store in my neighborhood to get a new phone. My old phone was over three years old at this point. I’m not someone to upgrade until I hit a point where I really feel like I need to, and I was finally there. Aside from the sadness of not being able to send or see emojis on my phone, it has also gotten to the point where my phone didn’t actually want to work as a phone anymore. I rarely use it as such because I’m not much of a phone person, but every time I would talk to my parents on our weekly phone call it would drop 2 or 3 times during our conversations. Then last week when my husband was out of town it was doing the same thing every night when he called and he said you have to get a new phone. I did a preliminary look last weekend and then did some research on my final contenders. I was basically trying to decide between sticking with an Android phone and getting the Galaxy S6 or switching over to an iPhone. None of my research was helping me. Basically everything said the major difference is the OS so it comes down to your preference for that. Friends basically were split on which one I should get based on what they personally were using. I was pretty much ready to walk into the store and flip a coin to decide. I spent a few minutes playing with both of them and given that I’ve been an Android girl since I got a smart phone it just felt more natural to me even though I have an iPad and MacBook Air. I wound up going with the Galaxy S6. I spent most of last night getting it set up and configured how I want it. I’m sure I’ll be pleased with it.

It’s stuff like this why summer is 8 billion times better than winter.

 

Summer Weekend with Friends August 10, 2015

Filed under: Friends,Life — dwhren @ 8:34 am

I have traveled a little bit more than normal this summer. It’s not been so much that I understand why I have felt like I really haven’t been around at all, but that’s what it’s felt like. I usually feel like I have plenty of time to see friends and do things, but this summer I really felt like I’ve barely been around and haven’t had a chance to hang out with friends or even be a good friend to people who are going through some stressful life things some good, some bad.

At any rate my travel is finally over, so I’m trying to squeeze in some good friend time before summer runs completely away from me in a few more weeks. I can’t believe it’s pretty much over already. My husband had his annual trip to Vegas for DefCon this weekend, so it gave me a chance to devote myself to spending some time with friends. It was also a very nice summer weekend in Baltimore, so I got to spend some nice, quality time outside as evidenced by the thousand bug bites I now have.

Saturday I pretty much spent with my friend Lindsey mostly running errands, but that meant we both got stuff done while getting to hang out. We hit the farmers’ market in the morning, and enjoyed some delicious biscuit sandwiches from Blacksauce Kitchen for breakfast. I’ve been going back and forth about whether we should adopt another cat to keep Scout company since Charlotte died last December and Scout still seems super lonely. I worry about getting another awesome cat like Charlotte was and about how Scout would react to us introducing a new cat, which is the main reason we haven’t done it yet. Of course there’s also the issue that we’ve been gone most of the summer, so it wasn’t a good time. Now that things are settling down it’s something I can seriously consider. Lindsey convinced me we should go to the SPCA in our neighborhood and look at the cats. Who doesn’t want to look at adorable little kittens. I knew I wouldn’t be coming home with one since Paul wasn’t there with me, so I said ok. I did really like one of the kittens a lot, but even if he winds up getting adopted before I have a chance to get him I’m sure there’s another kitten out there for me. After the SPCA we hit up the mall and Target. I’m also in the market for a new cell phone so I got the chance to check out some phones in person to see which ones I wanted to do a little bit more research on before making my decision.

We wound up grilling out for dinner and enjoying a nice dinner out on my patio. I pretty much never use it even though I would like to spend more time out there when the weather is nice. Mostly we’re lazy and spend too much time in front of the tv, but also there are a million mosquitos out there and I never want to get all bit up. Even with putting out a citronella candle and wearing bug spray I’m still covered in a ton of bug bites. We of course ended our evening with a walk to The Charmery for ice cream.

Sunday I started off the afternoon at my friends’ Heather and Julie’s place. Julie is getting ready to head back to Seattle this week, so they had some friends over lunch. As usual they had lots of delicious food, and it was fun to spend a few hours with them and some of their other friends.

I headed straight from there to my friends’ Dan and Erin’s house for a BBQ they were having. They live out in the county in the ‘burbs so they have a nice big house and backyard. It was fun to spend some time hanging out with a bunch of friends there as well. I stuffed my face full of way more food than I needed to eat. We also played a lot of backyard games. I am still awful at corn hole. I did better in my first time playing Spike Ball, though I don’t think anyone would be drafting me for their Olympic team if there were such a thing. It was another lovely summer evening, so it was nice to be able to spend a lot of time outside. I’m pretty sure whatever parts of my body weren’t covered in bug bites from Saturday night got bit up on Sunday. I’m sure I’ll look like I have some sort of pox.

It was a wonderful weekend full of friends, food, fun, and beautiful weather. I wish summer weren’t almost over so that I’d have plenty of more time to do it again.

 

Newport Folk Festival 2015 Day 3 August 4, 2015

Filed under: Concerts,Music,Pop Culture — dwhren @ 8:00 am

Sunday particularly in the morning I wasn’t 100% sure going in what acts I was going to go see. It is also the day I one million percent made the best decisions. Everything i went to was so amazing that there is no way that I made the wrong choices.

Christopher Paul Stelling

I had not ever heard of Christopher Paul Stelling before Newport, but I will certainly never forget him now. Going to his set was the single best decision I made during the festival this year and possibly any of the years that I’ve been. I had listened to a little bit of his music on Spotify prior to Newport so I knew I liked it, but I had no idea what an amazing performer he would be. I don’t always expect much in the way of performance when it’s a single guy with an acoustic guitar walking out on stage. Oh how little I knew. He had the crowd into it immediately. He told a lovely story about how excited he was to be playing Newport and the musical family he had been adopted into. After he found out he would be playing the Harbor stage at 11am on Sunday people told him that was the Brown Bird spot (if you don’t know Brown Bird was a regular act at Newport for a few years until one of the members of their duo died of leukemia last year), so he invited a bunch of people out on stage to sing 16 Tons with him dedicating it to Brown Bird.

And if the amazing set itself wasn’t enough he ended it by proposing to his backup singer Julia on stage. It was a beautiful moment and I’m so glad I was there to witness it.

Berklee Gospel Choir

The Berklee Gospel Choir is the first act on the main stage every Sunday of the folk festival. This year I only got to see the last 15 minutes because I was over at the Christopher Paul Stelling set. I do appreciate that this is the way Newport kicks off Sunday every year, and I know it’s one of Paul’s favorite parts of the festival.

Jon Batiste & Stay Human

Jon Batiste & Stay Human were another set that wasn’t something I originally planned to go to but because I was eating my lunch it was just easier to stick around the main stage at that point. Holy cow am I ever glad that I did. They are a New Orleans Jazz band, who will soon be taking over as the house band for Stephen Colbert’s version of Late Night. They were amazingly fun. The whole crowd was up on it’s feet and dancing, which usually doesn’t happen at the main stage where people are camped on blankets and chairs. They even came down into the crowd towards the end of their set. The whole thing was just great fun and good music.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

I had no knowledge of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats before seeing about half their set at Newport. I just stumbled up on them in my attempt to fill every possible moment with music. Why wait around at one stage during a set change when you can run over to another stage and get into 25 minutes of music from someone else. I really liked what I saw and heard from them. They were very high energy and I definitely digged their music. I almost didn’t want to leave when it was time to head back to the main stage for Lord Huron. I definitely need to look into them further.

Lord Huron

One day I will see an entire set of by Lord Huron. I had to walk away from their set at Newport 2 years ago to see someone else, and I did the same thing this year. They are great performers and I keep thinking that I really want to go see them in an actual club at some point instead of at a festival. NPR Music has their full set up if you want to listen.

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/426247490/426248213

Field Report

I’ve been digging Field Report for a few years now and really liked their newest album Marigolden. I was excited when I saw they were going to be playing Newport this year. I still do very much love their music, but sadly I can’t say that I thought they were super compelling performers. Oh well. I can still enjoy their songs like this one even if I probably won’t be seeking them out again live any time soon.

First Aid Kit

First Aid Kit is a Swedish folk duo of sisters Klara and Johanna. I love their music and they have some beautiful harmonies. Johanna had actually lost her voice, so it was mostly just Klara doing all the singing during this set. It was still wonderful though, so I can’t imagine how great they sound when they’re both their in full force. There’s not a video up of them doing it at Newport this year, but one of their standard covers is Simon & Garfunkel’s “America”. After the first time I heard it I said I now want nothing more than to hear the four of them sing that together in four part harmony. Here’s them singing one of their popular singles at this year’s festival.

The Suffers 

You may be thinking to yourself, self didn’t she already write about seeing the Suffers? You would be correct, but one of the great things about Newport is that in addition to the 3 big stages there are various other locations that bands pop up to play music. There is an area inside the ruins of Fort Adams. The first few years we were there it was sponsored by Paste Magazine, but has been sponsored by Squarespace the past few years. There is also the children’s tent that has sponsored by Late July Organic snacks every year we’ve been there. Shout out to the sponsors! They don’t put out official schedules for these places, so you either have to stumble upon them while they’re happening or catch when they make an announcement on social media about who is going to be playing where.

On Sunday the Suffers did a short set in the Late July Family Tent. It was pretty much the embodiment of everything that I love about Newport and what makes it special. First of all just the idea of these small special sets occurring. Second that The Suffers were sticking around the festival for longer than when they played (their set was Saturday morning), which is not unusual. Third that the festival is so family friendly. At the end of their set they invited all the kids in the tent to come up on the little stage to dance with them. It was a great moment. I loved their official set so much that I was excited to see them again, and this was even more special.

Hozier

This was I think the fourth time I’ve managed to see Hozier at a music festival including last year’s Newport Folk Festival. I have always liked his music, but I do have to say that he’s definitely growing into his abilities as a performer. I wasn’t impressed with his ability to command a crowd the first few times I saw him, but though maybe if I saw him in a seated theatre type venue he would be really good. He has definitely honed his skills playing some of the really big festivals over the past year or so. I thought he put on a much better performance than he had in the past. His music has always been great, but now his ability to engage even a large festival audience is on par with it. He too is a great lover of the Newport Folk Festival. He said his experience playing last year was the first time that he knew he would be able to make it with an American audience. He also told a story about talking to someone at the festival this year who had done a lot of the videorecordings from the festival back in the 60s. Hozier said watching those videos was one of the ways he taught himself how to play guitar and be a performer. That is the kind of amazing history and legacy this festival has that can never be matched by your Coachellas and and your Bonnaroos.

’65 Revisited

As I mentioned in my post about Day 2, this year was the 50th anniversary of the year that Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. Everyone was convinced for awhile that they would be bringing Bob Dylan back. That was not to be. Obviously not being involved in the booking I don’t know why that didn’t actually happen. I do assume they tried. Bob has played the festival again back in the early 2000s, but I guess he didn’t want to come back for this. I don’t know. They tweeted multiple times and talked about on their podcast that Bob Dylan would not be playing the festival. I believed them. Not everyone did as the entire weekend I heard rumors about being having seen him in Newport and during the entirety of this set the people standing next to us kept waiting for him to come out on every song.

What the final set of the festival turned out to be was many, many people who have been involved in the festival in various ways over the years from long ago until today covering Bob Dylan songs. Gillian Welch and David Rawlings started everything off with “Mr. Tambourine Man”. We got a few more acoustic songs before Dawes came out to play “Maggie’s Farm”, the song Dylan played electric, with Taylor Goldsmith playing the exact guitar Dylan played 50 years ago. Apparently Dylan left the guitar on the plane when he left Newport that year. It never made it’s way back to him and was sold at auction a few years ago for a lot of money to the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, who lent it to the festival this year. I had figured out that Dawes had to be one of the bands that was going to be part of this set. It was surprising they weren’t in the line up on their own. Taylor Goldsmith is one of the musical advisors to the Newport Festivals Foundation board, and he was part of the New Basement Tapes supergroup that wrote and recorded music for a bunch of old Bob Dylan lyrics he never actually turned into songs that were unearthed a few years ago.There was a nice little hole in Dawes tour schedule that day, so I was sure they would be part of it and they were. There were a bunch of other people that showed up on stage both who had played the festival this year or also in the past. Everything ended with them inviting any artists still hanging around backstage out to sing “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”.

As always the entire festival was one big utter delight. I cannot wait for next year.

 

Newport Folk Festival 2015 Day 2 August 3, 2015

Filed under: Concerts,Music,Pop Culture — dwhren @ 7:56 am

Day two of Newport Folk Festival was an absolute dream. The schedule had the two people I most wanted to see and then just got better from there. If you’ve paid any attention to me at all you know I adore Brandi Carlile and have an amazing love affair with Jason Isbell’s music. I was sorely disappointed when I realized that Brandi Carlile would be playing my favorite venue a few days before Newport on the day I was going to be in New York City. I was equally sad to realize that the only time Jason Isbell would be near Baltimore was as the opener for My Morning Jacket on the Sunday I would be at Newport. So you can imagine my delight on the respective days that Newport announced during their rolling line up announcements that they would both be playing the festival this year. They were amazing as expected, but there was so much more to love too.

The Suffers

I had heard some of The Suffers songs before and enjoyed them, but quite honestly hadn’t really paid much attention to them until this festival. They certainly made me sit up and take notice. They are an amazing soul band from Houston. Kam Franklin, their lead singer had the audience eating out of her hand. It’s a tall order to get a festival audience that engaged as the first act playing at 11 am. She did it with aplomb. I definitely look forward to being able to see more of them in the future. There doesn’t appear to be any video of their performance up, but enjoy this official music video instead.

Luluc

Luluc is an Australian singer. I only saw a tiny bit of her set while killing time between some other sets. I know her album was Bob Boilen from NPR Music’s favorite of last year, but I just could not muster up that much love for her. What i saw was fine. She has a lovely voice, but her music just isn’t something I’m super excited about.

Traveller

Traveller is a newly formed country super group composed of Robert Ellis, Jonny Fritz, and Cory Chisel. Apparently they had been hanging out and throwing around the idea of singing together. Jay Sweet, who books the festival said he would love to offer them a spot if they wanted it. At least according to what they said during their set everything was really brand new as they didn’t actually get their act together until a few weeks prior when they felt the festival breathing down their necks. They were quite enjoyable for something that had only recently come into existence at somewhat of the last minute. Enjoy some of their music and if you’re an NPR nerd be sure to read the delightful intro.

http://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2015/07/30/427711283/watch-low-key-country-supergroup-travellers-charming-video-for-western-movies?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nprmusic&utm_term=music&utm_content=20150730

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear

Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear were another act I was really looking forward to seeing. They are a mother son duo out of Kansas City. They play what I can only describe as porch sitting music. If you imagine people playing folk music on a porch that is what this is. They amazingly only recently started playing together and have been taking the indie and folk music scene by storm since last year. They were delightful.

Jason Isbell

As I already mentioned this set was one I was most looking forward to and it did not disappoint at all. I had known Jason Isbell from his time with the Drive by Truckers, but hadn’t paid much attention to his solo career until I saw him two years ago at Newport where I first really heard songs off his album Southeastern. My love has been burning brightly ever since. This year I was looking forward to hearing the songs off Jason Isbell’s incredible new album played live and happily this set was full of them. It’s a testament to how amazing the album is that there were many people around me in the crowd singing all the words to the songs even though the album had only been out for a week at that point. I know I go on and on about it, but I just love his music so much. He is a slayer of words. The lyrics to his songs just kill me they’re so good. One of the most poignant moments of the whole festival for me was standing in a crowd of people as we all sang along to “Cover Me Up”. Such a beautiful moment. You can listen to the entire set thanks to NPR Music and you really should.

http://www.npr.org/player/embed/426505568/426556257

James Taylor

This year was the 50th anniversary of the year Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. It changed the face of folk music and the festival forever. As part of that the final headlining act on Sunday was a secret set they were calling Celebration of ’65. In addition to that they decided to throw in a couple of other surprises along the way with some unannounced acts listed on the schedule. I’m pretty sure Jay Sweet would make the entire festival a surprise if he thought he could get away with it. I buy my tickets every year the second they go on sale long before a single band is announced so I’d be okay with that other than the fact that the line up announcements every few days are the one thing that keeps me going during the worst months of winter.

At any rate the first unannounced band on the schedule was My Morning Jacket on Friday night who played their own set and then stayed on to play as Roger Waters’ backup band. I don’t care that much for My Morning Jacket so that surprise didn’t excite me too much. Saturday’s surprise however was an entirely different story. It started off with this introduction, “In 1969 his set was cut short due to the moon landing. Please welcome back to the stage to finish out that set Mr. James Taylor.” I love James Taylor so much. I was beyond excited that he was there. He only played 5 or 6 songs, but he started off with my favorite, “Sweet Baby James” so it didn’t matter what he played after that I was happy. He played one song off his new album but the rest were perennial favorites like “Fire and Rain” and “Carolina in My Mind”. It was a beyond delightful surprise.

Jose Gonzalez

I wanted to see Jose Gonzalez but was debating between him and Sufjan Stevens whose set was at the same time. Luckily for me the decision became easy a couple days before the festival when they announced Sufjan Stevens would be playing in Baltimore in November. I got tickets to that and then felt free to chose Jose Gonzalez without any regret. I still only got to see about half the set because it also overlapped with Brandi Carlile. The part I did get to see was lovely. His songs are just beautiful.

Brandi Carlile

Words cannot express what an amazing performer Brandi Carlile is. I’ve seen her multiple times before, so I knew how great she is and could not wait to see her at Newport. She’s played Newport in the past, but in not in the years since I’ve been going. It was great to get a chance to see her there. She was wonderful as always. She said she wanted to try Newport once without drums and a backing band. She said she wasn’t sure she could get away with it, but I of course love when people try something different live so I totally thought she did. It was just her and the twins up on stage with their guitars and a piano. Their performance was fantastic and just continues to sell me on the desire to see them any time they are anywhere near where I am. It was the perfect end to my second day at Newport.