Ohdarlingdear and I traveled down to the Newport Folk Festival this past Sunday primarily to catch sets from the Civil Wars and The Head and the Heart. A few of the other acts were guaranteed pleasers; Thile & Daves, Justin Townes Earle and Brown Bird, but we were so pleasantly surprised by this intense trio of Northwesterners, The Cave Singers.
Their set was positioned smack dab in the middle of the day's Harbor Stage performances and the only thing I knew about the band was an anecdote that had been related by the day's first act Brown Bird. The story recounted a chance meeting between Brown Bird and The Cave Singers at a rest area in North or South Carolina a few years before where a small leather jacket was exchanged. The jacket was to have been signed and passed on to other bands to eventually work it's way back to Brown Bird, and earlier in the day, the jacket worked its way back to Brown Bird at Newport.
Their music is born of rust-belt americana, a darkly hypnotic roots rock stew; stomp and roll. A deep woods sound that's perfectly suited as the soundtrack for an episode of Twin Peaks.. there's something here that I can't put my finger on but oh how it works; achingly familiar fuzz guitar and sledgehammer drum rhythms focused through the lens of blast furnace vocals. This melange yields a powerfully earnest blend, equal parts folk, punk and rock; a potent potion best experienced hot and live. They played a blistering 46 minute set that had the crowd equally mesmerized and exhilarated, shock and awe indeed.
Luckily for me Ohdarlingdear had the sense to take some pictures because I was just sitting there jaw-dropped and totally into this band. NRP and Folk Alley were kind enough to make this performance available to stream or download. I can't wait to being able to see this band again.