WHAT SONG CHANGED YOUR LIFE? WE COLLABORATED WITH TINY DESK CONCERT CREATOR AND AUTHOR OF "YOUR SONG CHANGED MY LIFE" BOB BOILEN. THROUGHOUT NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL, ATTENDEES SHARED STORIES ABOUT A SONG THAT CHANGED THEIR LIFE. STORIES WERE UPDATED LIVE THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND HERE AT NEWPORTFOLK.SQUARESPACE.COM/LIVE. ADDITIONALLY, SOME SONGS WERE CHOSEN AND ADDED TO THE BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATED Wall INSTALLATION BY ARTIST & SQUARESPACE CUSTOMER JEN MUSSARI.
‘Fisherman’s Blues’ by The Waterboys, song was the combination of the right words at the right time in my life that described the moment perfectly. ’I wish I was a fisherman tumblin’ on the seas.....’
— Tom Sullivan, North Atlantic Ocean
‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ by U2 - seeing it live in concert on the rail was like a religious experience; it connects you to others; it has inspired me to see concerts in other world locations - always looking for the next magical musical moment.
— Carol Hua-Yung, proud Canadian living in NZ
‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’ by the Charlie Daniels Band and ‘Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson. The first two songs (interestingly juxtaposed) that introduced me to rock ‘n’ roll
— Tommy, Washington D.C.
‘Roses’ by The Chainsmokers
— Jiffle and Riffle, Pawtucket RI
‘Down by the River’, Bruce Working class homage
— Lois Whipple, Montclair NJ hails from Brooklyn
‘Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)’ - Bob Dylan
— Brad, Barrington RI
‘Vengeance is Sleeping’ by Neko Case
— Ty, Milwaukee WI
‘If I Ever Needed Someone’ by Van Morrison instructed me on the power of surrendering to grace.
— Casee Marie, CT
The song that changed my life was... ‘Hey There Delilah’ because I love the emotion that the artist portrays and how he shows his deep love for Delilah even though she is “a thousand miles away” I don’t know why it matters to me but I just get so emotional when I hear the song and how much he loves her.
— Delia Wasky, West Orange NJ
‘Shine on you Crazy Diamond’ by Pink Floyd
— Chris C., Northborough MA
Glen Hansard’s ‘When Your Mind’s Made Up’ really tugs on the heart strings and after waiting 10 years to see him, the performance paid off today. Absolutely wonderful artist and person.
— Christian C., Medford MA
The ABC’s aka the alphabet and Happy Birthday because today is my birthday
— Lauren Schmitz, Randolph NJ
‘Old Man’ by Neil Young; For my dad who lost his guitar playing hand in the coal mines of Western Maryland.
— Aaron Coleman, Bedford OH
‘First day of my life’ by Bright Eyes. I have the chorus tattooed on me and I felt this was the epic song of how it felt when I met the love of my life.
— Aidyn Woodward, LA
‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ by Harry Chapin
— Jon Cahill, Northborough MA
I Love This Volleyball
— Jack Johnson
‘Minor Threat, the first 7’ blew apart underground music for me.
— Mark Traeger
‘Award Tour’ by A Tribe Called Quest
— Keith, Norwalk CT
All your mistakes, you’ll just make them again if you only try turning around.
— Keri Wehmeyer, Setauket NY
The song that changed my life was ‘Come Pick Me Up’ by Ryan Adams. My college sweetheart and I met in the radio station freshman year and by senior year, we titled the show we ran together “Come Pick Me Up.” We ate a dozen wings at the college pub before our show and giggled until the outro music played. Every year when we inevitably hear Ryan play that tune at Newport Folk, even six years later, we both get misty.
— Gabby from NYC
‘Space Oddity’ Anything by David Bowie
— C. Marquardt, Cleveland OH
— The Grateful Dead
‘Dirty Dishes’ by Deer Tick. Because I like Deer Tick.
— Nick, Cambridge
‘Your Ex Lover Is Dead’ by Stars The kind of song that speaks to everyone, with an unforgettable melody - it has been with me for almost two decades. It is somehow perfect both to cry desperately along to AND to dance like crazy in the rain.
— Ksenia, New York NY
‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right’ by Bob Dylan. This song was the first song I learned on guitar and introduced me to folk music and songwriting in general.
— Jonathan Pardo, Somerville MA
‘Tree By The River’ by Iron & Wine. This was the first song my girlfriend and I performed at an open mic. Every time I listen to it I get something new from it.
— Cuchulain Kelly, Washington DC
‘Little Lion Man’ by Mumford and Sons. This song is what got me listening to folk music and what ultimately brought me to Newport Folk Fest
— Brianna, Exeter RI
‘Rivers and Roads’ by The Head and The Heart. Watched a recording of them singing this song acoustic in a tunnel and was hooked. Then saw them at Newport for the first time and it was even more magical.
— Emily Mulligan, Medford MA
‘Tapestry’ by Carol King - I was young, maybe middle school, when i first heard this song and I thought it was rich and beautiful. Today the words have so much more meaning.
— Susan Hecht, Plymouth MA
‘Closer to Fine’ by the Indigo Girls — this song was released while I was in high school, and limited to hearing whatever was playing on the radio. This song broke through all the others at a time in my life when its message and the power of two women harmonizing was exactly what I needed.
— Emily Hammond, DC
‘One’ by U2 - It is one of the most beautifully written songs.
— Patricia Bailey, Newport RI
‘Happiness’ by Riceboy Sleeps
— Jennifer Parmenter, Boston
‘London Calling’ by The Clash
— Peter, Wakefield RI
— Elliott Smith
‘Piece of my Heart’ by Janis Joplin — I was a teenager when she was inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame, and seeing recordings of her live performance on that broadcast were a turning point in my musical life.
— Tom, Beacon, NY (by way of NYC and Boston)
‘Under the Bridge’ by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
— Kevin, Bloomfield NJ
I Shall be released.
— The Band with Bob Dylan
‘The Weight’ by The Band, Mavis Staples, Joe Cocker...
‘Another Bridge’ ~Everything But The Girl ”A word from out of the blue, reminds me how much I once needed you.
— Patty Mac, Somerset MA
‘Be Here Now’ by Ray Lamontagne
— Katie Schmidt
I told my wife I was going on a work trip and we had a big fight. But then that song by singer-songwriter couple Steve+Kelly came on, ‘What’s so funny about Peace, Love & Understanding.’ We cried and laughed. That is our song. I love the Elvis Costello cover version of it, too.”
— Frank, Ecuador
I was born in the wrong place in the wrong time oh I don’t know i never woke up
— Caitlyn Mueller by Deer Tic
‘Give Me Love’ by George Harrison. Beautiful message, beautiful song
Joan Baez’s ‘Forever Young’, which was my gateway into older folk music, and the song that made me fall in love with her and her music. I heard her at the Newport Folk Festival in 2009, and have loved her ever since. The song still gives me chills.
— Cara Haughey
I was in third grade when I first heard the song that changed my life. I fortunately grew up with a dad and brother who both adored music - my dad a listener of the 60s and 70s, my brother with post-punk and alternative. We all, including my mother, were on a drive home from a local football game and it was dark out - we hit the last stoplight before we emerged into country roads and ‘The Boxer’ by Simon and Garfunkel started playing. I asked my dad what the song was and asked him to turn it up. I had the windows down and had my head out the window looking up at the sky throughout the entirety of that song, with my family silent throughout the car. It was almost an unspoken understanding that we wouldn’t talk during the song. I was in an alternate state, with just the song completely enveloping me and the country wind and dark, starry sky above me. Then the bridge came on and I began to cry. I wasn’t too young to realize that music was way more to me than mere static noise - it was life, and ever since that moment I knew music was life for me and it always would be.
— Lissa Phillips
My son Cameron was a passionate Bob Dylan fan, and he shared all of that with me. He taught me patience, compassion, love. I cannot hear the song without being transformed, without being reminded of what is truly important in life.
‘Your Song’ by Elton John. I was 8 years old and my parents had recently divorced. My dad sat me down in front of the record player and said, “This is my song to you.”
— Kimberly C.
‘(OH What A) Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong. I try to live by the wisdom of this song.
— Jo-Ann Tillinghast, Cranston RI
My girlfriend Corin and I shared our first kiss while listening to ‘Seed of Memory’ by Terry Reid. Neither of us knew what the song was but there was an unspoken connection we felt to each other and to the song. Six months later, Corin made me a mixtape which included the song and I could tell I would be with her forever. Five years later she’s sitting here next to me at Newport Folk Festival. If only Terry were here.
— Matthew Groehl, MA
‘Tombstone Blues’ by Bob Dylan, because when I was a child, my dad used to play it and he taught me about Bob Dylan and his genius lyricism. He specifically pointed out the line “the sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken. He passed away when I was ten but for my whole life I have thought about that line and that song. It is definitely where my evolution as a folk-lover began.
— Corin Cook, MA
The song ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ by Lord huron. There’s a line in that song that really speaks to me: “What good is living the life you’ve been given, if all you do is stand in one place?” There’s so much to see out there, I just wish I had time to experience all of it.
— Erynne Jones, Sacramento CA
‘State of Mind’ by Raul Midon. I saw Raul Midon perform on David Letterman when I was a sophomore in college in 2005. He was an unknown, blind guitarist/songwriter/singer, and his song absolutely blew my mind. When he did the “mouth trumpet” it sealed the deal for me. It’s the kind of song everyone should AT LEAST listen to once.
— Pete, MA
‘Bells For Her’ by Tori Amos. I was 16 and had just discovered Tori Amos and had the chance to go see her live. I didn’t know much of her catalogue yet as a relatively new fan and when she played this song and I heard the line “you don’t need my voice girl, you have your own” I started crying. High school is rough for everyone but it was incredibly hard for me and I was struggling to figure out how to be happy with myself. I had met her before the show, and Tori has this incredible ability to connect with her fans on a very personal level. It felt like she was singing right to me. Every time I went to see her after that, I would line up to meet her before the show and I would ask her if she could play that song. I don’t know if it was already on her setlist or if I ever had anything to do with it, but she always played it. The last time I saw her I had the chance to tell her how much it meant to me, and she wrote that line down on a piece of paper for me. I have it as a tattoo now and I use it to remind myself every day that I don’t need to be anyone else-I have my own voice. It has helped me find more happiness in being me than I ever could have dreamed at 16.
— Emmery Brakke, Somerville MA
‘Into the Mystic’ Van Morrison. I had just moved to NYC and was at Yoga to the People in the East Village for a morning class. It was spring, the weather was beautiful, and the room, in an exposed brick space, was the perfect temperature. We were starting class with some flows, and the breeze was coming in, and “Into the Mystic” came on. I didn’t know the song, but I knew Van- my dad loved him and listened to him all the time growing up. But my dad had only two albums in rotation- Moondance and The Best of. Into the Mystic isn’t on either. And it was a perfect moment. A bit of home in Van Morrison’s voice, but so much possibility as well- a new city, a new neighborhood, and a spring morning, and when “I want to rock your gypsy soul” hits, it all combined as a perfect moment.”
— KMS, Brooklyn NY
‘Road to Nowhere’ by the Talking Heads told me that it was okay to just start moving, even if you don’t know where the hell you’re going. I feel like I’ve always got that city in my mind, any city, and I’m ready for the adventure.
— Katie McGuire, Babylon NY
I woke up from a late-evening nap to ‘We Are Nowhere, and It’s Now’ by Bright Eyes. It was the first song of actual music I enjoyed (as a 13 year old). That’s what I moved on from Panic! at the Disco and Fall Out Boy.
— Kate McCann, Cranford NJ
When I first heard ‘Rock & Roll Suicide’ by David Bowie it totally changed the way I thought of Bowie & what music could do to a person. RIP
‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ by Bob Dylan
— Kira Karbocus, Saratoga Springs NY
‘Postcards from Italy’ by Beirut. Completely changed my perception of what I male narrator can be, and can feel. Thanks Beirut!
— Gideon, Brooklyn
The first song I ever remember hearing was ‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’ by the Beatles. It started my obsession with music. Every time I hear that song, I get chills. “Listen..do you want to know a secret...do you promise not to tell...whoa oh, oh, closer.”
— Emily, Newport
Phillip Glass’ ‘Choosing Life’. At a time when I’d failed as a husband, step-father and businessman, ready to play in traffic to close the door on it; this song subtly changed my mind about it all.
— Jeff Burland
‘I am a lonely painter, living in a box of paint. I’m frightened by the devil, and drawn to those who ain’t afraid.’ Joni Mitchell’s words spoke to my struggle to make peace with the largely isolated existence that is being an artist. Her words reminded me that I wasn’t the only one that was afraid, and that vulnerability carries power.
— Stephanie, Brooklyn
Ryan Adams’ ‘La Cienega Just Smiled.’ Opened my eyes to country as another genre to explore. Was a turning point. Now I cringe when people say “I like everything but country.”
— Jeff McMahon
‘Soul Meets Body’ by Death Cab for Cutie
— Nora, Newport
Van Morrison - ‘Caravan from the Last Waltz’ Amazing energy, a special night... replayed every Thanksgiving eve for years to come
With my mid-youth crisis all said and done, need to be youthfully felt, ‘cause Lord, I never felt young.” - Hozier Living in the moment and enjoying every second, thanks to you, my love.
‘They Bring Me To You’ by Joshua Radin was the song that played when I proposed to my wife, Jen. Six years later and even now when I hear that song it reminds me how lucky I am.
— Pat, Wisconsin
Lucius - ‘Go Home’ struck me as a sense of self power. “I don’t need you - go home” - sung by two women really gave boost of female power I needed in my mid 20s.
— Alyssa, CT
‘One Headlight’ by the Wallflowers changed my life.
When I saw Wild Child for the first time at Rock & Roll Hotel in DC they came out into the crowd unmic’d and we all shared the most special moment. I won’t soon forget it.
— Charles and Kit, DC
‘Holocene’ by Bon Iver. I was going through a divorce and heartbroken and defeated. I remember cleaning out my garage, the kids were sleeping and I had my headphones in. I was tired and lonely. The song “Holocene” came on and the melody picked me out of my dark place, it made me feel lighter, I felt hopeful again for the first time in a long time. I knew things would be ok.
— Gwen, Jersey Shore
‘Sugar’ by Dan Wilson changed my life. The second I heard it, I knew it was going to be the first dance I’d have with my wife... and it was.
— Jeff, Upstate New York
‘Secrets Of The Stars’ by Milk Carton Kids. I think the lyrics are beautiful and my girlfriend and I absolutely love the song. It’s just something easy to draw to and sleep to.
— Faye Silvia, MA
The song that changed my life was ‘Impossible Soul’ by Sufjan Stevens. It hit me at a pivotal moment in my life, and I think the orchestrations of the piece perfectly mirrored the chaos I was encountering in my life at the time. It’s gut-wrenching and beautiful all at once.
— Jessica Kausen, New York City
‘My favorite book’ by Stars. It’s how I figured out my wife was in love with me.
— Alyssa, NH
‘Dancing in the Dark’ by Bruce Springsteen! Bruuuuuuuuce!
— Gigi, CT
‘Stupid Marriage’ by The Specials. As a kid growing up in the eighties, it was so cool to hear ska for the first time and it was so different than anything else that was popular at that time. I started listening to WLIR and found lots of different music that made me feel alive!
— Lisa, Mountain Lakes NJ
‘Last Island’ by Peter Mayer... I just went back to church after a couple of years of not going. It was during lent and the priest was talking about bring things in instead of always going. He said that the focus of this years lent should be to bring things in. I then saw Scott Kirby and Peter Mayer the next week and Peter Mayer first song was ‘The Last Island’. He said sometimes you have to bring things in instead of always going. He also said sometimes you don’t always have to be going.. It was the same message but one was in a homily and one was in a song.
— John Fraioli, Elmhurst IL
‘More Adventurous’ by Jenny Lewis made me realize, as a lonely high schooler, that there were people out there who felt like me and that I’d be ok.
— Jessie Baxter, Boston MA
‘Pitseleh’ by Elliott Smith. This song got me through some incredibly dark times in my life, and when I hear it it helps me remember that I can make it through any struggles.
— KD, Brooklyn via MA
‘Kid A’ by Radiohead, a perfect dystopian lullaby
— Drew, Providence RI
‘Penny Lane’ by The Beatles played on my transistor radio when I was a child lying in my bed. It embedded in my subconscious and has guided my entire life so far. Beautiful melodies like that with funny lyrics have always been my source of musical joy.
— Timmy May, Newport RI
‘Concrete Schoolyard’ by J5 - Chail 2na is my spirit animal
— Nick, Newport RI
‘Whiskey Bottle’ by Uncle Tupelo. Made this punk kid realize there was more to music than loud, fast rules.
— Jon Worcester, MA
‘A New England’ by Billy Bragg The most beautiful song I’ve ever heard live.
— Melissa, Worcester MA
‘Behind Blue Eyes’ by The Who. First heard in the 70’s and have been a fan of music ever since. Going to Desert trip to see them in October for the umpteenth time!
— CJ, Newport RI
‘Wish you were here’ by Pink Floyd has been following me around since I was little. From Brooklyn, to Rhode Island, to Vermont, to Italy, and finally to Newport Folk Fest, watching Roger Waters play it live with an amazing backup and a rain storm.
— Louisa, RI
‘Lost in the Supermarket’ by The Clash. The first time learned how unique even the most widely disseminated music can make you feel. That it can make you feel like you have a purpose.
— Emma, Chicago IL
‘Sometimes you gotta bleed to know that your alive and have a soul. But it takes someone to come around and show you how.’ by Twenty One Pilots
— Karianne, NY
‘Walk Away’ by Ben Harper. seems to always come on my playlist at the right moment when i’m feeling down about something, and makes me remember to live in the moment and remember how much more important it is to love those around you, than to pine for those that left you in the dust.
— Geoffrey T, Melrose, MA
‘Death with Dignity’ by Sufjan Stevens. The last few lines will tear out your heart.
— Jenessa Abrams, New York NY
‘Walk On’ by U2.
— Chris Haley, Little Compton RI
‘One Fine Morning’ by Bill Callahan, remains the song to finish each day.
— James Ciano, New York NY
I grew up a classic rock kid so driving around the radio would always be tuned to stations that were playing The Who, The Doors etc. When I was about 14-15 years old or so I heard ‘Blue’ by The Jayhawks and immediately wanted to know more about them. I immersed myself in Tomorrow The Green Grass and then Hollywood Town Hall. From there I started looking in to artists like them which lead me to Golden Smog and Uncle Tupelo which lead to Wilco and Son Volt and I was off. So the reason that song changed my life is because it started me on my path of music discovery which hasn’t slowed down since.
— Keith Raleigh, Massapequa Park, NY
‘Little Lion Man’ by Mumford & Sons. I listened to this song over 400 times on repeat the first week I heard it. That’s not even a lie.
— Emily Van Auken, Ormond Beach FL
‘The needle and the damage done, a little part of it in everyone’ -Neil Young
— Jeff Webber
‘Everything will fall into place’ ’Gravity Rides Everything’ by Modest Mouse
— Jules, Astoria NY
‘If you want to Sing out, Sing out’ by Cat Stevens changed my life. I was 11 - awkward and unsure of myself - when my grandmother died. She loved this song, and I loved her. I sang it in front of a church packed full of people celebrating her life. This song allowed me to feel comfortable sharing myself with the rest of the world.
— Abby Byrne, Newport RI