Decemberists Debut New Tunes At 50th Newport Folk Festival

While we fought rain at the second annual All Points West, the newly expanded Decemberists took a break from their start-to-finish The Hazards Of Love renditions to introduce a couple new songs to fans at the 50th Newport Folk Festival, aka the so-called Folk Festival 50. As Colin Meloy notes before the start of “Down By The Water,” it’s the “American debut” of said tracks as well as his “American debut” playing the harmonica (true/false?). There are fits and starts and then it finally … starts. There’s also “an attempt at a copper mining song” called “Rox In The Box” with a shout out to Butte, Montana. Meloy knows how to work the folk fans, for sure.

“Down By The Water”

“Rox In The Box”

You can stream some of the set’s oldies at NPR. At the end of the festival Billy Bragg, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Ben Kweller, Fleet Foxes, the Low Anthem, and the Decemberists joined Pete Seeger on a sing-a-long of “This Land Is Your Land.” My hair just grew an inch. Finally, the band’s upcoming 8/6 show at the Metro in Chicago is going to feature a setlist created “By Request” by Decemberist fans. Check to see if any of the aforementioned songs made the selection list at

[Photo by Autumn DeWilde]