Then, if you play guitar or admire guitar playing, you notice what Havens is doing with his thumb – the thumb on his fret hand, specifically. That’s right, he uses his thumb to make bar chords.

Richie Havens. Folk legend, guitar phenomenon, and then there’s the whole Woodstock thing.

He was the first act to take the stage for the most memorable concert in rock history.

What was supposed to be a 20-minute set turned into a three-hour tour de force during which Haven says he played every song he knew.

Mangled logistics and horrific traffic delayed the second act, Santana, so Havens just kept playing. He capped his performance with an ad-libbed version of the classic “Motherless Child.” The first word that came out of his mouth was “Freedom,” and Havens’ “Freedom” remains a touchstone for the Woodstock generation.

Four decades later Havens remains one of the most recognizable voices in folk music and he is celebrating the release of his 26th album, Grace of the Sun, with a concert tour.

His fall shows include new material as well as a broad selection of songs from his extensive repertoire.

The 10 tracks on the new album highlight Havens’ rhythmic sensibility. The disc includes six original compositions as well as renditions of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” and Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock.”

Asked about recording the classic “Woodstock” after so much time, Havens remarked, “You know, we face the same struggles now as we did then.”