No preaching to the choir here!
For a different kind of religious experience, a Unitarian Universalist fellowship by day rolls up its pews and sets cabaret tables for a Woody Guthrie hootenanny by night.
Folk musicians, veteran storytellers and blues artists flock to the popular Last Licks Cafe open-mic night at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington.
There’s no plugging in, wailing guitar riffs or karaoke style. Troubadour folk singers and master craftsmen make Last Licks a music lovers’ must-visit.
Larry Chorowski, a co-producer for the past eight years, shared what makes Last Licks a big draw for musicians.
“I’m a fan of public gathering places where the community can hang out without an agenda. We get about 80 percent nonmembers who want to play,” Chorowski said.
His partner in Last Licks, Gerald Moss, usually finds acts through word-of-mouth, a bit of advertising and Facebook.
November’s open mic featured folk singers Rupert Wates, Lois Morton, Hank Stone and John Taylor performing original works. Trio Stephen Lombardo, Sue DeMasi and Marc Peper chimed in with such covers as Robert Plant’s “Please Read the Letter” and Badfinger’s “I Remember Finding Out About You.” The open-mic portion lets everybody get on stage for one song.
In time for some pre-Valentine’s Day fun, The Moonlighters, a Brooklyn-based jazz band, will be swinging at the next Last Licks Cafe, Jan. 22. Formed in 1998, the group blends Hawaiian, swing jazz and blues in sexy harmonies.
Last Licks Cafe, 109 Browns Rd., Huntington; 631-427-9547; lastlickscafe.org. Cover charge (depending on the featured act) ranges from $10 to $25, with discounts for students and seniors.
Similar venues on the folk scene:
Grounds & Sounds Cafe, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship at Stony Brook, 380 Nicolls Rd., Setauket; 631-751-0297; groundsandsounds.org. Free; held second Friday of the month at 8 p.m.
Folk Music Society of Huntington, Congregational Church of Huntington, 30 Washington Dr., Centerport; 631-425-2925; fmshny.org. $20 for members, $20 for nonmembers, with discounts for advanced sales; held first Saturday of the month at 7:30 p.m.
The Hard Luck Cafe, Congregational Church of Huntington, 30 Washington Dr., Centerport; 631-425-2925; fmshny.org. $7 for members, $10 for nonmembers; held third Saturday of the month at 7:30 p.m.
Eclectic Cafe, Unitarian Universalist Society of South Suffolk, 28 Brentwood Rd., Bay Shore; 631-661-1278; eclecticcafe.org. $8 for members, $10 for nonmembers; held second Saturday of the month at 7:30 p.m.
Garden Stage Cafe, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau, 223 Stewart Ave., Garden City; 516-248-8891; uuccn.org. $17; held first Friday of the month at 8:30 p.m.