Nothing is as uplifting as hearing the right song at the right time. Something clicks into place and, bam, your whole outlook changes. So when Bare Necessities attended the 2015 Newport Folk Festival two weeks ago, it felt more like a spiritual retreat than a concert.
Newport Folk Fest is the festival that launched all the others. It’s been a half-century since Bob Dylan’s legendary, jaw-dropping swap from acoustic to electric guitar there, preeeetty much changing the course of popular music as we know it. And that storied history has carved out a space for so many artists on their way up, like this year’s Courtney Barnett, The Suffers, Joe Pug, Lord Huron, The Lone Bellow and Tallest Man on Earth, to name just a few worthy of your time. (We know you’re busy. We wouldn’t steer you wrong.)
These are three of the most empowering, moving songs from our weekend at the Newport Folk Festival that we’ve still got playing on repeat on Spotify. If you appreciate music—moving lyrics, gorgeous melodies, an unforgettable chorus—we’re pretty sure you’re about to do the same.
First Aid Kit, “My Silver Lining”
Listen to about 10 seconds of their effortless harmonizing, and it’s obvious that Klara and Johanna Söderberg are sisters. Swedish sisters, in fact, whose retro-country sound is the antithesis of ABBA or Ace of Base. This 2014 hit from First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold album was named “one of the 10 best songs of 2014 (so far)” by Billboard, and it’s what to play to jumpstart your motivation on Monday mornings.
First Aid Kit “My Silver Lining” lyrics:
There’s no starting over, no new beginnings, time races on
And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on
Gotta keep on going, looking straight out on the road
Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road
I try not to hold on to what is gone, I try to do right what is wrong
I try to keep on keeping on
Yeah I just keep on keeping on
Something good comes with the bad
A song’s never just sad
There’s hope, there’s a silver lining
Show me my silver lining
Brandi Carlile, “The Eye”
You could call Carlile pop, rock, country or folk, and you would be right. The singer-songwriter-guitarist-pianist from Washington State has been performing her own songs since she was 8. Carlile meshes the intense delivery of Lucinda Williams with a voice as smooth as Rosanne Cash’s. At the end of a long day, the quiet strength of this acoustic gem off 2014’s The Firewatcher’s Daughter is all we need to find our second wind.
Brandi Carlile “The Eye” lyrics:
I am a sturdy soul
And there ain’t no shame
In lying down in the bed you made
Can you fight the urge to run for another day?
You might make it further if you learn to stay
I wrapped your love around me like a chain
But I never was afraid that it would die
You can dance in a hurricane
But only if you’re standing in the eye
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
Leon Bridges is not of this era, and that’s precisely why we love him. The 26-year-old ex-dishwasher from Ft. Worth, TX, is a legit throwback to 1960s soul singers like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. He’s also as dapper as they make ’em, from his fedora to his high-waisted pants and wingtips. “Coming Home” is from Leon Bridges’ album debut in 2015 of the same name, and every track is a trip back in time to a kinder, gentler American sound. Make this your new Friday night jam.
Leon Bridges “Coming Home” lyrics:
I’m coming home
To your tender sweet loving
You’re my one and only woman
The world leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, girl
You’re the only one that I want
I wanna be around
I wanna be around you girl
I wanna be around girl
I wanna be around