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YolaJoseph Ross Smith

There’s plenty of music on tap at this year’s Newport Folk Festival, including, as always, the promise of surprise appearances and spontaneous collaborations. Here are some of the folks scheduled to perform.

Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley of Drive-by Truckers have teamed up for a side project (with a titular nod to Mick and Keith) in the Dimmer Twins. On Sunday, they’ll play their own material and some Truckers stuff in stripped-down fashion.

Two former members of Squirrel Nut Zippers, Andrew Bird and Jimbo Mathus, have also paired up; they’ve reprised their collaboration via a new album and a tour behind the same, including a stop at Newport on Saturday.


After releasing his debut album, “Black Hole Rainbow,” last year, young soul singer Devon Gilfillian took a detour from following it up to record his version of Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece, “What’s Going On.” He’ll perform that record in its entirety at the festival Sunday.

From left: Eric D. Johnson, Anais Mitchell, and Josh Kaufman of Bonny Light Horseman.
From left: Eric D. Johnson, Anais Mitchell, and Josh Kaufman of Bonny Light Horseman.Nolan Knight

Anais Mitchell, Josh Kaufman, and Eric D. Johnson came together as Bonny Light Horseman last year and produced a record full of intense, shimmering folk music that was one of the year’s finest. They’ll play Tuesday. Johnson will also be performing on Monday with Fruit Bats, the idiosyncratic folk outfit he’s helmed, in fits and starts, for 20 years.

Yola will be playing both the Newport folk and jazz festivals this year, which makes her the sixth artist to pull that double shift. Presumably, she’ll be highlighting her new release, “Stand for Myself,” another offering of her marvelous country-soul and a record that’s about as far from a sophomore slump as can be imagined. She plays at the folk festival on Sunday.

BeckRich Fury/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

It has become a Newport tradition to host an expansive roster of artists, and that’s true again this year: Randy Newman, last here in 1994, will play solo on Saturday, and Beck, who played the festival eight years ago, returns to the Newport stage Tuesday for the only North American date he has currently scheduled.


There’ll be ample music from emerging artists as well. A sampling: the rootsy mélange of Early James (Wednesday); country songwriter-turned-performer and Highwomen member Natalie Hemby (Saturday); the unorthodox fingerstyle guitar playing of Yasmin Williams (Saturday); the raspy-voiced country-folk of Tré Burt (Sunday); and the high-test bluegrass of multi-instrumentalist Billy Strings (Sunday and Monday).