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SFMS preps for First Friday
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The 146th “First Friday for Folk Music,” Savannah’s monthly showcase of local and touring folk musicians, will feature a new act for Savannah and two old favorites Aug. 1.

The show will include Florida’s Doug Spears, North Carolina’s prolific songwriter Bruce Piephoff and Savannah’s own balladeer Bill Schumann. The show will again be at First Presbyterian Church at 520 Washington Ave., First Friday’s new home.

Blending elements of contemporary folk, Americana, bluegrass, country and folk rock, Spears produces a sound that is fresh and new, yet immediately familiar. Painting lyrical images set to memorable melodies, delivered with a warm, unique guitar style and powered by rich vocals Spears is an east coast favorite at festivals, folk clubs, house concerts and listening rooms.

A fourth generation Floridian, Spears was born in Leesburg, Fla., and his best childhood memories tie back to the farm house his grandfather built just west of Leesburg in the 1920s. He took up the guitar at age 12, learning on an old Gibson J-45 loaned to him by a family friend, and soon began writing his own songs heavily influenced by the wealth of songwriter poets of the time.

Piephoff is a folk singer/songwriter and poet who has been writing and touring the folk circuit for nearly 40 years. He began playing little bars in Chapel Hill, N.C., back in the late ’60s while attending the university there.

Of Dutch ancestry, Piephoff (pronounced “pea-off”), has also performed on the streets of Amsterdam. Piephoff has recorded 16 CDs of all original folk/blues and poetry for Flyin’ Cloud Records. His influences range from Charles Bukowski to Townes Van Zandt and his finger-style guitar playing came from the rolling ragtime blues rhythms of Elizabeth Cotten and Mississippi John Hurt. Piephoff also has published one collection of poetry, Honky Tonk Stradivarius. At 58, he continues to tour out of Greensboro and write and record.

Schumann is a First Friday regular with a big booming voice and a booming 12-string Martin guitar to match. His material ranges from cowboy to Celtic, fun to folly and romance to regret. With a personality as large as his voice and stature, Schumann is always a crowd pleaser.

“First Friday for Folk Music” is a production of the Savannah Folk Music Society. It’s from 7:30-10:30 p.m. and is smoke-free, alcohol-free and family-friendly. There is a recommended donation of $2 per person.

Beverages and homemade fresh baked goods are available for purchase at nominal prices.