Michael Kiwanuka – Discovering new music at the 2013 Newport Folk Music Festival

2013 Newport Folk Festival.

2013 Newport Folk Festival.

I’ll be the first to admit that my music collection has become stale.  A child of the 80s, my playlist revolves around Duran Duran (don’t judge!), New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Michael Jackson and Men at Work. Yes, my iPod playlist could be called a nostalgic journey into yesteryear.  But, to call it fresh would be stretch by anyone’s imagination.

My wife, Joyce, download RDIO two years ago to explore new music.  Our radio dials, previously glued to WPLJ’s Justin Bieber, Rihana and Timberlake infused top 20 pop countdown and Z100’s daily morning show, were replaced by our new RDIO streaming lists. Thus, began our exposure to music a bit off the beaten path.

We booked a trip to Rhode Island to attend the annual Newport Folk Music Festival that took place last weekend.  The festival featured many artists we had recently discovered – The Lumineers (which has since become main stream with their release of “Ho Hey”), The Avett Brothers, The Lone Bellow, Jason Isbell, The Wheeler Brothers, Nicki Bluhm and Michael Kiwanuka.

While my wife had her favorite new artists to check out at the festival, I had my own.  Michael Kiwanuka, a British soul musician, was at the top of the list.  Even before attending the festival, I had fallen in love with Kiwanuka’s chill vibe through his YouTube video collections.

My favorite Kiwanuka song, Bones.

Kiwanuka’s, Home Again.

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Michael Kiwanuka: 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

Seeing Michael Kiwanuka up close during his performances at the Newport Folk Festival was a true pleasure.  His vocals were virtually identical to his recorded version but much more impressive was the sheer trance-like state the audience (myself included) was in during his performances.

In an age where music has become a commodity and bands are created in calculated fashion based on previously successful business-recipes, it is refreshing to rediscover true artistry… singers who have a passion for their music, write their own songs and perform every live venue as if it’s their first.

My iPod list will always include my old school 80s tracks… but, what the heck.  Memory is cheap.  Let’s queue in the fresh music!

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