Last summer at Newport Folk Festival a large group of artists came together in the spirit of the great American folk tradition to deliver a set of protest music called Speak Out. Now on April 21, the live recording of that set will be released on vinyl as a special Record Store Day release. The album features Beau Bedford, the Berklee Gospel and Roots Choir, Billy Bragg, Jim James, Kevin Clark, Kyle Craft, Lucius, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Nick Offerman, Olivia Chaney, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Rayland Baxter, Shakey Graves, Sharon Van Etten, Stephanie Hunt, Zach Williams and a house band made of Carl Broemel, Casey Neill, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, John Moen, Nate Query and Patrick Hallahan.
“(Newport Executive Producer) Jay Sweet had contacted me, having this concept and rough sketch of musicians, the idea being a set of protest music that wasn’t polarizing, but brought our humble audience together,” said The Decemberists’multi-instrumentalist and Speak Out’s musical director, Chris Funk in a prepared statement. “My concept was a George Harrison / Songs for Bangladesh band, so two drummers, two bass players, loads of keys, horns and too many guitars. Basically, it was My Morning Jacket meets The Decemberists dancing with Preservation Hall drinking coffee with Kyle Craft, while Casey Neill juggles knives,” Funk said of the house band.
“From it’s inception, we wanted the Speak Out set to reflect the long tradition of artists speaking truth to power at Newport Folk. I’m thrilled to see this transform into a Record Store Day release; supporting independent record stores is just as vital as the support we receive as a small, independent festival, said Newport Festivals Executive Producer, Jay Sweet in a prepared statement. “This has been a true folk family project from beginning to end; we are grateful to all of the artists for joining in. This record really shows that collaboration is the core of our Folk DNA,” says Newport Associate Producer, Brittany Ryan.
From Margo Price and Zach Williams of The Lone Bellow’s stirring rendition of Steven Van Zandt’s “I Am A Patriot,” to Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War” covered by Jim James and Nick Offerman, the music on Speak Out is more urgent and vital than ever. Fans can find Speak Out on Record Store Day, April 21st, at independent record stores across the country.
All proceeds are benefitting the educational initiatives of the Newport Festivals Foundation, Inc.®. Newport Folk Festival returns July 27-29 in Newport, Rhode Island.
For more information visit www.newportfolk.org.