The twang of a guitar and the low hum of an electric bass began to fill the air around Port Jefferson Village. As the second band of the day began a quick warm-up, curious passersby and festival guests stopped, interested in what this next band had to offer.
As 1 p.m. rolled round, Shecky and the Twangtones took the stage and began playing what drummer Doug Morrow likes to call a “modern America ecliptica.”
Shecky and the Twangtones was one of more than 30 performers featured during the 7th annual Port Jefferson American Music Festival. The festival started on Saturday and continued Sunday, as four stages were set up throughout Port Jefferson Village. The festival also included a section with children rides and games as well as booths filled with items from local vendors.
Throughout their 40-minute set, Shecky and the Twangtones played an array of songs from popular Beatles and Rolling Stones tracks to genres including surf-rock and rockabilly. Although Shecky and the Twangtones only played covers to popular 1960s songs, they added their own surf twang and twist to every song.
“We do everything our own way,” said drummer Doug Morrow, of Rocky Point. “It’s not just exact covers of songs, we add our own style.”
It wasn’t long before a few people got up and started dancing, unable to resist the feel-good groove the band was attempting to set off. Among those was the Levy family, who happened to stumble upon the festival while visiting their daughter at Stony Brook University.
“It’s nice to hear some familiar music,” said William Levy, 63, of Wappingers Falls. “One of the best cover bands I’ve heard.”
The festival was sponsored by J. Faith Entertainment and the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson. All money raised went to benefit the Long Island Music Hall of Fame Museum to build a museum in Port Jefferson.
“All arts have been cut drastically over the years,” said Port Jefferson’s James Faith, 60, the hall of fame’s chairman. “The festival gives families a chance to walk around and enjoy local music for free while also raising money for the museum.”
Thousands walked the grounds of the festival, stopping from stage to stage to enjoy the various sounds of each performer. Sporting a bright yellow and white Hawaiian shirt, Shecky and the Twangtones vocalist/guitarist, Tommy Davis, better known as Shecky, only had one intention for the day.
“We want to play a fun set and have people enjoy our music,” said Davis, 62, of Huntington. “People say that when you get older you lose interest in things, but it’s actually grown. You make time for music; you squeeze it into your busy life.”
Above: Doug Morrow, of Rocky Point, plays drums in Shecky and the Twangtones, a 1960s surf-rock inspired band that took the Chase Bank stage second at the 7th annual Port Jefferson American Music Festival. (Sept. 30, 2012)