This story has been updated.
The Newport Folk Festival has birthed some iconic moments in its long, storied history. This includes Bob Dylan going electric for the first time with The Band behind him in 1965, Johnny Cash introducing a young songwriter named Kris Kristoffferson to the audience and setting him off in the national consciousness in 1969, and Joni Mitchell making her first public appearance in many years with help from Brandi Carlile in 2022.
This moment may not end up as iconic as those previous ones, but who knows what the future holds since Tyler Childers and the Turnpike Troubadours continue to raise the ceiling for independent country artists, and to write iconic legacies of their own.
Upon the release of his new song “In Your Love” and the announcement of his new album Rustin’ In The Rain, Tyler Childers has been lurking around the Newport Folk Festival happening this weekend in Rhode Island, playing a surprise set on Friday (7-28), despite not being advertised on the bill. Then Childers showed up to help sing the iconic John Prine tune “Paradise” with the Turnpike Troubadours, sending fans of the two acts agog.
Childers also stuck around to sing a couple of lines of the Turnpike song “The Bird Hunters,” and later Troubadours frontman Evan Felker sat in on Jason Isbell’s set and sang Isbell’s new song “King of Oklahoma” from his latest album Weathervanes.
Though the Turnpike Troubadours and Tyler Childers have played some of the same festivals, this is the first time they have taken the stage together. This is the kind of magic only the Newport Folk Fest can facilitate. Despite the relative quaintness of the fest compared to the other events these two bands are used to headlining, the top acts in all of roots music love to play Newport simply due to he prestige the music gathering holds.
The Turnpike Troubadours have a new album of their own on the way call A Cat in the Rain due out August 25th.
You don’t want to be accused of being hyperbolic by comparing Tyler Childers, Jason Isbell, and Turnpike to some of the great Newport Folk Fest performers in the past, but those in attendance definitely got a treat by seeing these two make more Newport magic together.