Sunday, July 26, 2015

Newport Folk Festival 2015: Madisen Ward & And The Mama Bear

Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear, the mother and son duo from Kansas City, have been winning hearts wherever they go and Saturday afternoon at The Newport Folk Festival was no different. A small table with LED candles was placed between two chairs in the center of The Harbor Stage, giving it the homely feel of your own living room. The full crowd--audience members were packed together both seated and standing--began applauding as Ruth and Madisen Ward walked onto the stage and took their seats on either side of the table. Then Ruth sang to check her mic and they cheered. The countdown was one minute until their set was slated to begin when Ruth said:

"While we're waiting on our one minute I want you to know it's beautiful here. This place puts the 'B' in beautiful. I am enjoying it so much it's like it's giving back to me. This place is breathtaking." 

Keeping with the theme Madisen and Ruth started their set with "Live By the Water" with Ruth winking at the allusions to surroundings like theirs in that moment. Madisen spotted fellow Kansas City natives in the crowd sporting KC gear just so he would notice them, referring to them as "friends from home".  

It was their first time playing the Newport Folk Festival and their first time ever in Newport. Ruth described what an honor it was to be asked to play before their record Skeleton Crew was even released, and that they "couldn't be more honored to be here with the heavyweights of the past like Bob Dylan and Neil Young." 

Songs like "Daisy Jane" and their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" garnered applause before they were even over, artists like Jose Gonzalez watched from the side of the stage and everyone began cheering from the first note of their lead single "Silent Movies".

At then end of the performance Ruth looked out at the crowd, "I want you all to know that Madisen wrote every single one of those songs except for 'Dreams'". Madisen just about cut her off to interject, "And she played every single one of them with me." 

-Kendall Stewart

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