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An American Music Playlist From The Man Behind Newport Folk Festival

This weekend’s Newport Folk Festival marks the 50th anniversary of what many believe is a defining moment for American music: when Bob Dylan put down his acoustic guitar and plugged in an electric one.

The moment has been written and talked about extensively, and people are still arguing today about whether it permanently changed the definition of American folk music.

Today, the new head of the Newport Folk Festival,  Jay Sweet, embraces it all – from Pete Seeger to Rhode Island’s brash (and very-plugged-in) band Deer Tick. He tells Here & Now what he thinks makes a song truly American, and what he looks for in the bands he chooses to play the festival.

Jay Sweet’s American Music Playlist

Wilco, “Airline to Heaven” (Live in Chicago)


Odetta, “I’m in the Mood for You”


Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell, “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”


My Morning Jacket, “It Makes No Difference”


Lead Belly, “Goodnight, Irene”


John McCauley, “Goodnight, Irene” (Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 2013)


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