Newport Folk Festival: Jonny Corndawg

Jonny Corndawg drew a huge crowd for his second year at Newport, completely filling the Quad Stage’s several hundred seats as well as several layers surrounding the edges of the tent. Onlookers eagerly edged forward to try and get a closer look at Corndawg for his live set that shocked listeners wide awake better than any cup of morning coffee. Corndawg was born in Montana but spend most of his life growing up in Esmont, Virginia.

The lively singer-songwriter was given a lofty introduction from Newport’s own creative director, Chris Capotosto, who personally had a hand in inviting Corndawg back this year for. A smart move on Capotosto’s part because murmurs of excitement for Corndawg’s set were heard from the moment the festival goers came inside the gates.

Corndawg has been touring “on his motorcycle since 2001” and has played gigs across the entire country. Accompanying Corndawg today was Joshua Hedley on fiddle, Spencer Collum on pedal steel, Taylor Zachry on bass and Jerry Pentecost on drums. The comradery between Corndawg and his band is undeniable. From the second the set began they were all giddy with excitement and really let it show as they danced and played out of the heart of Fort Adams.

Corndawg treated the audience to a new track “Goodbye Summer” off of his soon to be released new album, Shut Up. Corndawg is an incredibly personable frontman and had fun talking with the audience between songs and gave back stories to some tracks. “I was pretty depressed when I wrote this song but I’m better now. So don’t worry about me,” Corndawg explained with a smile before diving into his song “Have You Ever Wanted To Die.”

Corndawg’s vocals were perfectly rich and paired with the solid backing provided by his band. The set came to an end too quickly as Corndawg closed with a soulful rendition of his song “Trash Day.” The track is heavily influenced with a Spanish melody and recounts a story of familial neglect – ending with the repeated line, “oh my god, oh my god” in disappointment and heartache.

Despite his seemingly comical name, Corndawg’s set was a pleasure and joy to discover here at Fort Adams. And by the looks of the crowd he drew here today, stay tuned to Newport again next year because he just might be back for more.

 

By Jeeyoon Kim

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