It has been almost 40 years since Richie Havens was the opening act at Woodstock. His improvisational version of "Motherless Child," punctuated by an added verse in which Havens repeats the word "freedom" in an intense frenzy became one of the anthems of Woodstock, and of the civil rights and peace movements. And it was an important turning point in the career of the soulful artist who started his performing life in Brooklyn singing doo-wop on the corners, moved on to Greenwich Village reading poetry and sort of fell headfirst into the lap of the folk movement...and his now-legendary style of rhythmic guitar-playing. Although Havens is best-known for covering other artists' tunes, he is far from unoriginal. With his trademark strumming and thumb-fretting playing, accompanied by percussive foot banging and guitar-clapping, he carved out a style all his own and has perfected it over the years. Having seen Havens play a couple of times, I can say it is a powerful experience, as Havens never wavers from his cadence and focus, forceful and driven. He's in Dallas for an intimate show 8 p.m. Saturday night at Rock House Films, 3006 Cole Ave. The show is co-presented by Bend Studio. Tickets are $65 and are selling fast. Call 214-606-0770 or visit bendstudio.com for tickets and information.
Sat., Jan. 17, 2009