Felker sang Isbell’s “King of Oklahoma” at Newport Folk Festival, while surprise guest Tyler Childers joined Turnpike to pay tribute to John Prine
Okemah, Oklahoma, native Evan Felker plus Jason Isbell’s “King of Oklahoma” equals an only-at-Newport moment. On Saturday, the Turnpike Troubadours leader joined Isbell and the 400 Unit onstage during their Newport Folk Festival main-stage set to sing lead on both verses of “King of Oklahoma,” a highlight of Isbell’s latest album Weathervanes.
Just before his own band, Turnpike Troubadours, closed out the festival’s largest stage, Felker jumped up to sing Isbell’s powerful tale of a man whose life slips away after getting injured on the job and falling prey to an opioid addiction. The song came early during Isbell’s set, with Isbell taking over the choruses and punctuating the song’s end with a powerful extended jam with guitarist Sadler Vaden.
It wasn’t the only Felker-related collaboration that would happen that afternoon: At their first-ever set at the festival, Turnpike welcomed Tyler Childers onstage to pay tribute to John Prine on a moving version of “Paradise,” and on the band’s own “The Bird Hunters.” Childers, who released the stunning song and video “In Your Love” last week, had performed a secret afterparty show the evening before at a tiny club in town but was otherwise an unannounced guest at Newport.
A few hours later, Isbell showed up at Margo Price’s tribute to John Prine aftershow, opening the evening with a version of Prine’s “Storm Windows” Other guests included Emmylou Harris and Swamp Dogg.