If Day One of the Newport Folk Festival was impossible, Day Two was a downright nightmare. So many exciting acts, so little time. These are the five best of the bunch, not including headliner Jack White (who won't be included due to the fact that I was not allowed to photograph him)... he would have placed second, if eligible. Also, there are two bonuses this time around. So, really, I guess this is the eight best of the bunch. However you look at it, here it is...
1. The Milk Carton Kids
I once read that The Milk Carton kids are the bastard children of Simon & Garfunkel and The Smothers Brothers. I can't put it any better, so I'll leave it at that. They're truly something special; their harmonies, their humility, their humor... they belong at the Newport Folk Festival.
2. J. Roddy Walston & the Business
Welcome to the third loudest (after Reignwolf and Jack White) act at the festival. He's also the hairiest (unless I'm missing someone) and one of the most addictive (I've listened to his album several dozen times since picking it up).
3. Pokey LaFarge
Pokey LaFarge sounds like he should be playing in a club on HBO's Boardwalk Empire. I think that's what I love most about him; he sounds nothing like anything else going right now.
4. Shovels & Rope
There's a passion throughout their set that just lights the whole place on fire. These two are about to jump each others bones. It brings their music to life in such a striking way that it's damn-near impossible to look away.
5. Willie Watson
I was enjoying his set, then he decided to close with "Midnight Special." It was one of the truly great moments that only live music can bring to life. It was unbelievably beautiful, and set seriously high standards for the rest of the acts to follow. (Several beat it out overall, but very few had any single moments as perfect as this.)
Bonus: John Reilly & Friends
I've been a huge fan of John C. Reilly ever since I first saw Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights at far too young an age. When hearing that he would be playing this festival, I was elated. They were wonderful and I got to photograph one of my favorite character actors doing something he truly loves.
Bonus Bonus: Puss n Boots
I love Norah Jones. Her music is amazing, and her presence in Wong Kar wai's My Blueberry Nights made me fall in love with her even more. I have a serious crush, and to have the chance to photograph her was surreal. Puss n Boots would have placed higher, but if I'm being honest, their music has nothing on Norah's solo material, or most of the other acts at this festival.