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Stony Creek Band to perform at Caffe Lena

SARATOGA SPRINGS - After a 20 year absence, the acclaimed area folk-rock Stony Creek Band will be returning after two decades to perform at Caffe Lena, renowned as the longest-running folk venue in the U.S.

Band member John Strong said it was good to be back at Caffe Lena, particularly during the monththe Caffe was celebrating its 50th anniversary.

They are scheduled to perform at 8 p.m. Saturday May 8, and seating is limited. For tickets, call Caffe Lena at 583-0022 or visit www.caffelena.com.

Caffe Lena is noted not only for helping launch the careers of Bob Dylan, EmmyLou Harris, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Ani DeFranco and Arlo Guthrie, but it's prized for its size and ambiance, in which patrons are only a few feet away from a performing artist, often a nationally renowned musician.

"We're very excited to play Caffe Lena - it provides a real concert setting where people listen to every word."

Strong said his full band, with five members - all seasoned musicians who've been playing together for many years - barely fit on the Caffe Lena stage.

"It's great to be part of the anniversary celebration - it's a very special place," he said.

Strong added that Stony Creek Band fits well into the Caffe Lena tradition.

"Caffe Lena is like hallowed ground, and our roots are really folk music - singer/songwriter, American-roots music," he said, noting that he and Hank Soto were friends of Caffe Lena founder Lena Spencer, who died in 1989. Since her death, the venue has been operated by a non-profit organization, a group of music enthusiasts who didn't want the Caffe, considered a national treasure, to shut down.

Caffe Lena's 50th anniversary celebration formally occurs the weekend May 22.

Friday May 21 includes a fund-raising performance by 60s folk stars Geoff Muldaur and Jim Kweskin, a public festival 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside and outside the Caffe with 11 acts including Rosanne Raneri, and a performance Saturday night at Skidmore College featuring Arlo Guthrie.

The Stony Creek Band, formed in 1970, features Hank Soto and John Strong on guitars, Dave Maswick on bass, Mike Lomaestro on drums, and Fred Lantz on mandolin. The group is known for its exuberant Americana music which draws on folk, country and rock 'n roll idioms.

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