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I heard more than one person at Newport marvel at the fact that Pinegrove had been booked for the smallest of the festival's three main stages. The day before its Newport set, the Montclair, N.J., band had played the main stage at the Panorama Music Festival, where headliner Frank Ocean would perform later that day. For a band that still practices in one member's parents' basement, Pinegrove has accumulated a huge, enthusiastic fan base over the year since it released its latest studio album, Cardinal.

Folk music is a genre commonly associated with protest, and the performers at Newport this year lived up to that expectation.

When Fleet Foxes took the stage to close out the first day at Newport, it had been eight years since the band's last performance at the festival. In 2009, the band was picking up steam after releasing its critically venerated self-titled debut, "White Winter Hymnal" was still fresh as new snow in our collective consciousness and then-drummer J.

There's an emblematic photograph of Herbie Hancock on the back cover of his album Sunlight, which he began recording 40 years ago this month. He's depicted against a red backdrop with a Sennheiser vocoder headset on his cranium, which is bowed in deep focus.

Sunday evening's final set at the Newport Folk Festival is frequently a triumphant, all-star affair — and John Prine's performance this year proved true to form.

The music distribution site Bandcamp will be donating 100 percent of its share of music sales Friday to the Transgender Law Center, a nonprofit based in Oakland, Calif.

For those looking to hear Americana from Oceania, Newport Folk's Quad Stage was the place to be during the second day of the festival. After Australia's Julia Jacklin kicked things off that morning, it was the 26-year-old Kiwi Marlon Williams' turn. Originally from a tiny New Zealand port town, Williams had just begun to write songs when he first heard Gram Parsons' GP and fell in love with country music.

Thirty years after becoming rap's first sex symbol, LL Cool J will be the first hip-hop artist to receive Kennedy Center Honors in its 40-year history.

The rapper-turned-actor born James Todd Smith will be inducted with a prestigious 2017 class — including pop stars Gloria Estefan, Lionel Richie, television icon Norman Lear and choreographer Carmen de Lavallade – on Sunday, Dec. 3 at the Kennedy Center Opera House in Washington, D.C.

The honorees will be saluted by performers while seated alongside President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump.

Tune into the great new sounds — from both sides of the Atlantic — that artists are launching during the summer music festival season.

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She walked on stage on a cool summer evening, wearing a mink jacket over a glittering gown. She stepped a little gingerly, as if she were stiff or feeling some discomfort.

She waved to the audience and then unleashed her voice: "Like a warrior that fights to win the battle ...." The sold-out crowd roared as she sang the No. 1 hit she recorded in 1987 with George Michael, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."

Moments of unexpected magic are the Newport Folk Festival's calling card. The festival typically sells out well before its lineup is even announced — but the official lineup is more of a rough guideline, anyway, since the weekend is peppered every year with surprise performances and collaborations.

"It's the whole reason I'm here right now," said Brent Cobb by way of introducing his song "Down Home" to the Newport Folk Festival audience Friday afternoon.

Though Alynda Segarra grew up in the Bronx, she left New York City behind as a teenager to chase the romantic allure of America's small towns and wide-open spaces. Those travels, plus her infatuation with the classic songwriting of artists like Joni Mitchell and Townes Van Zandt, have informed Segarra's work fronting the Americana project Hurray for the Riff Raff for nearly a decade.

When you hear The Wild Reeds perform, you experience an artistic emulsion of sorts. The Los Angeles band's frontwomen — three musicians with three distinct songwriting styles that might not naturally mix — have put in the work to achieve a sound that's unified. Mackenzie Howe, Sharon Silva and Kinsey Lee have spent hours swapping favorite records in their touring van and perfecting their vocal blend, and their efforts have paid off: The Wild Reeds' Friday set at Newport Folk was assured and robust, a testament to potent voices made more powerful when united.

Which band you encountered upon approaching the Newport Folk stage during Big Thief's set depended, to some extent, on the moment you came within earshot. The Brooklyn foursome can simmer quietly for long intervals at a time, its subdued wash of sound centering the folk-inspired specificity of Adrianne Lenker's poetic lyrics. But at a moment's notice, the band turns volcanic, erupting into aggressive, jarring episodes of release.

The last time the charismatic husband-and-wife duo Shovels & Rope performed at Newport, it was 2014 and Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent were not yet parents. The South Carolina couple has since welcomed its first child and released a new album, Little Seeds, recorded at home while the baby slept.

This weekend, NPR Music is headed back to one of our favorite summer events: the Newport Folk Festival.

As part of NPR Music's Turning the Tables, we are looking closely at some of the albums on our list of the 150 Greatest Albums Made by Women. Today's feature is Pirates, the second album by Rickie Lee Jones. She will perform the album in full at Lincoln Center Out of Doors on Wednesday, July 26.


The pirates first announced themselves to Rickie Lee Jones in New Orleans, in the fall of 1979, with a delivery of mysterious gifts.

"Despacito," the worldwide hit from Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee which just last week was touted as the most-streamed song to date, has now become the subject of a surprise appropriation by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Chester Bennington, one of the lead singers for the band Linkin Park and a former singer for Stone Temple Pilots, has died. His death was confirmed to NPR Thursday afternoon by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, which said that his body was discovered at a house in the 2800 block of Palos Verdes Estates in Los Angeles and that investigators are currently on the scene. The death is "being looked at as a possible suicide at this time," according to Brian Elias of the coroner's office. Bennington was 41 years old.

The Thistle & Shamrock: Best Of The Best

Jul 19, 2017

From The Chieftains' vintage collection The Very Best Of The Claddagh Years to Dusk Till Dawn, which telescopes the long and successful career of Capercaillie, we explore some of Celtic-roots music's finest "best of" compilations.

The world has had the better part of a week now, and through a bloated holiday weekend, to digest Jay-Z's latest album, 4:44. With 10 songs spread over 36 minutes, the album wields brevity without sacrificing breadth. Its sound, crafted wholly by producer No I.D., is surprisingly cloudy and narcotic, while Shawn Carter's lyrics are reflective and bent steadfastly toward honesty.

Gary DeCarlo, the voice behind the late-'60s hit "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," died Wednesday in Branford, Conn. He was 75 years old, and had been battling metastatic cancer.

DeCarlo was the co-writer and singer of that now-indelible tune, which spent 16 weeks on the Hot 100 singles chart in 1969.

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