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John Paul White, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2017

John Paul White performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR
John Paul White performs at the 2017 Newport Folk Festival.

"If you came to this set looking to be cheered up, you're screwed," John Paul White deadpanned from the stage at Newport. The comment drew laughs from the assembled crowd, but there was a wry truth to it: Eerie harmonies and Kelli Jones' fiddle shrouded White's tender songs in a dark, mournful beauty.

Take, for instance, "Simple Song," which White wrote for Dave Cobb's Southern Family concept album last year. He explained that it'd been inspired by his grandmother, who refused to cry when her husband died because he'd cost her enough tears while he lived. The melody is pure and devastating, and at Newport, Adam Morrow's plaintive lap steel drew out the song's funereal side. Like the rest of White's set, it was the kind of music that can give goosebumps, even on a sunny summer day.

Set List

  • "Black Leaf"
  • "Martyr"
  • "The Once And Future Queen"
  • "Hate The Way You Love Me"
  • "Fight For You"
  • "Hope I Die"
  • "I've Been Over This Before"
  • "Simple Song"
  • "What's So"
  • Credits

    Technical Director: Josh Rogosin; Audio Engineers: Steve Remote, Steve Kolakowsky, Ken Candelas (Aura-Sonic Ltd.); Producers: Marissa Lorusso, Jenna Li, Suraya Mohamed; Photography: Adam Kissick.

    Special thanks to TuneIn's Newport Folk Radio. Listen to Newport Folk Radio year-round via or the TuneIn app.

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