Joshua Hedley Brings Nashville to Newport
Over the past several years, traditional-leaning country music has increasingly found a home at Newport Folk, and this year's lineup proved to be no exception, with performances from artists like Nikki Lane, Robert Ellis, Shovels & Rope and Brent Cobb. Perhaps no single performer delivered so pure a dose of unadulterated classic country as Joshua Hedley, the longtime fiddle player/sideman who recently signed a solo record deal with Jack White's Third Man Records. Hedley's Friday morning kick off set was a deeply promising debut for the songwriter, whose rich crooning evoked everyone from George Jones to Roy Orbison. He sang a spellbinding cover of Mickey Newbury's "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye" by himself and offered up tales of salvaged romance ("Let's Take a Vacation") and eternal rambling ("Weird Thought Thinker"), while backed by the ace Nashville retro-stylists Steelism. By the time Hedley closed with a jazz-inflected "When You Wish Upon a Star," the singer, who is yet to even release his first full-length album, could hardly believe the crowd's rapturous standing ovation.