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5 New Faces Of Folk, At The 2013 Newport Folk Festival

Alynda Lee Segarra records as Hurray For The Riff Raff, one of the emerging acts making its debut at the Newport Folk Festival this year.
Courtesy of the artist
Alynda Lee Segarra records as Hurray For The Riff Raff, one of the emerging acts making its debut at the Newport Folk Festival this year.

The Newport Folk Festival's history is dotted with historic moments involving musical icons — Bob Dylan plugging in jumps immediately to mind. But, while organizers still take care to stack each festival with huge names and star veterans, the margins are smartly and lovingly curated, too. The 2013 Newport Folk Festival is no different, with an impressive slate of boundary-pushers and genre-eschewers. Here are five of the newest and most promising faces, with a downloadable song from each. Catch them live during NPR Music's broadcast of the festival this weekend.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

5 New Faces Of Folk

Shovels & Rope

"Hail Hail"

On stage, South Carolina singer-songwriters Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent are geysers of goodwill: The husband-and-wife duo's chemistry and ramshackle playfulness make them difficult to resist. But listen to "Hail Hail," from last year's O' Be Joyful, and you'll also hear musicians for whom a smile is just one way to bare one's teeth.

Download "Hail Hail" (Right-Click and 'Save As')

Cold Specks

David DeKeyser

"Blank Maps"

Cold Specks is led by Al Spx, a Canadian-born singer whose gorgeous voice is strong enough to bear the weight of soul and gospel tradition — but also delicate enough to illuminate the nuances in sad, tiny, subtle moments. The English band's debut full-length, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, is full of head-turningly gorgeous songs like "Blank Maps."

Download "Blank Maps" (Right-Click and 'Save As')

The Lone Bellow

"You Never Need Nobody"

If there's a "Most Likely To Succeed" prize in the crowded folk-rock field, it ought to go to the Brooklyn band The Lone Bellow, whose soaring ballads and frenetic strummers couldn't be more accessible. The group knows how to reach for big, dramatic moments — be sure to soak up those choruses in "You Never Need Nobody" — without overreaching and winding up in an overwrought no-man's land.

Download "You Never Need Nobody" (Right-Click and 'Save As')

Frank Turner

Brantley Gutierrez

"Recovery (Live At NPR Music)"

Frank Turner's roots lead back to hardcore bands, and it shows: The U.K. singer-songwriter infuses his ground-level folk-rock storytelling with the guts of a punk and the brains of a revolutionary. Here, he performs his hopeful-but-realistic, rehab-themed anthem "Recovery" — the first single from this year's terrific Tape Deck Heartlive in the NPR Music offices.

Download "Recovery (Live At NPR Music)" (Right-Click and 'Save As')

Hurray For The Riff Raff

"Look Out Mama"

Alynda Lee Segarra has a voice that sweeps across eras and genres with grace and grit. Equal parts folk, blues and country, last year's Look Out Mama — recorded under the name of Segarra's killer New Orleans-based band, Hurray For The Riff Raff — exudes woozy, hardscrabble beauty, as evidenced by its tremendous title track.

Download "Look Out Mama" (Right-Click and 'Save As')

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)