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Folk music fest pays tribute to Woody Guthrie

The group Tres Amigos performs "It Don't Mean

The group Tres Amigos performs "It Don't Mean a Thing if it Ain't Got That Swing" at the third annual Woodlands Folk Festival at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook on Saturday. From left, Sam Reider, 23, of Brooklyn, on accordion, Eddie Barbash, 23, of Manhattan, and Justin Poindexter, 29, of Manhattan, on acoustic guitar. (June 30, 2012) (Credit: Brittany Wait)

With hair pulled back from her face, partly secured by a bandanna, Claudia Jacobs performed “Ain’t No Sunshine When He’s Gone,” delivering the lyrics with conviction, alongside tuba player Tristan Eggener from Wisconsin.

Jacobs, of Stony Brook, was among the artists who performed at the third annual Woodlands Folk Festival on Saturday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook.

“We have a very rich, musical family here at the Unitarian,” said Jacobs, who has belonged to the fellowship for 13 years and organized the festival’s musical lineup. “We went from back porch concert to a full blown out folk festival. It’s not your normal church picnic.”

Last year’s festival raised about $6,000.

The humidity and 90-degree weather couldn’t keep the crowd away. Over 200 people came by, many with lawn chairs to sit back and listen to folk music all day.

The festival paid tribute to Woody Guthrie, a pioneer of folk music who was born about a century ago. Guthrie died of Huntington’s disease in 1967 at age 55.

“Folk music filled my house growing up,” Jacobs said. “His name is forever in my mind and he’s the father of folk music.”

Folk-icon Christine Lavin, singer-songwriters Greg Greenway and Martin Swinger, singer Sonny Meadows and folk group Tres Amigos performed throughout the day.

“I’ve played at lots of festivals, but I’ve never seen one so homey,” said Lavin, of upstate Geneva. “There’s a lot of crap out there with autotune, but when you’re a folk singer, there’s none of that. It’s just you and your guitar.”

Eddie Barbash, 23, of Manhattan, Sam Reider, 23, of Brooklyn, and Justin Poindexter, 29, of Manhattan, came together almost three years ago to form Tres Amigos. Barbash is the lead vocalist, also playing washboard and alto saxophone, while Reider plays accordion and Poindexter strums an acoustic guitar

“We all like a lot of different music, so we’re still kind of teaching each other,” Poindexter said. “We like to think of ourselves as ‘musicologists.’ We try and research and absorb music from all over the country and present it in a different way.”

Lynn Fornuff leaned back in her lawn chair, purposely stationed in the shade, and listened to one of her favorite folk artists, Greenway.

“I’ve been a fan of folk music since the 1960s,” said Fornuff, of Central Islip. “I like the way it relates to how people go through life. You don’t feel alone. You can relate to it.”

Tags: Stony Brook

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