Like his contemporary Carlos Santana, folk singer/acoustic guitarist Richie Havens sometimes says flowery things about heightened consciousness and spirituality that veer toward New Age parody, as if the limits of lovey-dovey idealism and the realities of bad drugs never sank in after Woodstock. But as American history repeats itself in a cruel, almost mockingly tragic turn of events, Havens' booming baritone becomes a reassuring beacon. And, lest anyone cry "Chicken Little!," make no mistake -- with this generation's Vietnam raging with no end in sight, civil rights under attack, and openly fascist leaders, the sky is falling. But Havens has already been down these waters. His open-tuning guitar style and recent covers of Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" and Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" remind us that the country has survived.
Richie Havens plays at 8 p.m. Sunday, January 30, at the Carefree Theatre, 2000 S. Dixie Hwy., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $26. Call 561-833-7305.