I was moseying through the Boston Phoenix website last night and realized that the Newport Folk Festival is around the corner. Around the corner is also known as July 28th and 29th (and the 27th for Wilco)! There are a whole slew of worthwhile acts to check out this year, either at the festival or separately on their own tours. The obvious highlights include Iron & Wine, Deer Tick, Conor Oberst, Alabama Shakes, and Tune-Yards. But there are also a lot of lesser-known acts that you should be ready to listen for, if you head to the festival.
One of these acts, the Deep Dark Woods, recently released a free download of a seven song (42 minute) live album from a show in Annapolis, Maryland. If you aren't sure you want to invest $7.99 - $15 for an album (without knowing exactly what you're buying), then this download is a great way to get acquainted with some lovely live tunes. Actually, if you scroll through the News section on the first page of their website, they have three whole free shows for download.
On the Annapolis show freebee, there are a few songs you should pay particular attention to. The three-minute "Sugar Mama" which graces us in the first spot on the Deep Dark Woods website playlist recalls Old Crow Medicine Show with slightly lazier-sounding vocals. It is probably the closest thing to a single that they have going, and it is fairly intoxicating in a lighthearted way. "Back Alley Blues" is meandering and gentle (as is the whole album, really). Then there is "West Side Street." Honestly, it's like a Bruce Springsteen song if Springsteen had spent more time in the woods instead of racing cars in Jersey.
Overall, the albums bundle together a set of spectacular summer songs in a low-key setting. The sounds made me put the Deep Dark Woods on my list of bands whose music I should buy when I get paid (eventually). Until then, I will hope I can catch them at the Newport Folk Festival, or potentially at T.T. The Bears on July 30th for $8.00!