Best Folk Revival Throwback: John Reilly & Friends
It came as some surprise that the most reverent, historically minded set of the whole weekend came from movie-star-turned-folkie John C. Reilly. Playing with vocalist Becky Stark and accompanying guitarist Tom Brosseau under the moniker John Reilly & Friends, the trio ran through a finely tuned, traditionalist set comprised largely of Carter Family standards. In fact, Reilly's group provided the finest display of old fashioned three-part harmony singing at Newport, with gorgeous renditions of the Stanley Brothers' "It's Never Too Late" and "I've Just Seen the Rock of Ages" among the set's many highlights. "Singing these songs is like collecting seashells and trying to sell them," said Reilly, who repeatedly expressed how surprised and humbled he was to have landed a gig at Newport Folk Festival. "These songs are all of ours, so thanks for sharing them with us today." J.B.