Archive for July, 2008

Pete Seeger Readies First New Album Since 2003

Pete Seeger Readies First New Album Since ’03
 
 
Billboard
July 29, 2008
 
Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
 
 
Folk legend Pete Seeger will release his first new album of studio recordings in five years this fall. The 32-track “At 89,” a nod to Seeger’s age, is due Sept. 30 via Appleseed Recordings.

According to a spokesperson, the material ranges from new takes on old favorites, vintage songs that have never appeared on an album and short banjo, guitar and recorder pieces.

Seeger will play a handful of shows through the end of the year, including his annual Seeger and Guthrie Thanksgiving concert on Nov. 29 at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

Asked earlier this year by Billboard what his legacy will be, Seeger replied, “My family will remember me, and a few others. I’m one of a lot of songwriters. There’ll be more important things to think about. Mostly I’d urge people, don’t make heroes out of anybody. I’ve made a huge number of mistakes with my family, in singing and in politics, all sorts. So don’t copy what I’ve done. Please, make your own mistakes. Don’t make my mistakes over again.”

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Concert for WPKN on September 11th

A Benefit for Listener-Supported WPKN

 

Thursday, September 11, 2008, 8 PM

The Ridgefield Playhouse
80 East Ridge
Ridgefield, CT

Tickets $89.5

On Sale Now!

For more information call 203-331-9756

ridgefieldplayhouse.org

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A Second New England Farm Relief Concert – September 12th

A SECOND NEW ENGLAND FARM RELIEF CONCERT

 

SEEGER FAMILY ADDS LEBANON CONCERT TO NEW ENGLAND FARM RELIEF EFFORT

 

Legendary folk singer Pete Seeger, his grandson Tao Rodrguez-Seeger and blues artist Guy Davis will perform at the Lebanon Opera House in Lebanon, New Hampshire on Friday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m.

 

This additional event in the group’s New England Farm Relief effort will benefit a new micro-loan program to help New England farmers, which is being established by Strolling of the Heifers, Inc. in partnership with The Carrot Project.  It will also benefit the food pantry operations of The Upper Valley Haven, a shelter for homeless families based in White River Junction, Vermont.

 

Strolling of the Heifers is  best known for its Strolling of the Heifers parade, held each year in June, in which dairy cattle and other farm animals lead an agriculturally-themed parade along Brattleboro’s Main Street to an all-day “dairy fest” on the grounds of the Brattleboro Retreat.

 

Seeger, Rodrguez-Seeger and Davis will appear also in a September 13 concert at the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro Vermont, previously announced, which is nearly sold out.  Both shows are co-produced by Twin Cloud Concerts.

 

Pete Seeger, at the age of 89, is a veteran of seven decades of performance and political activism.  He has recorded dozens of albums and has written hundreds of songs, including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” 

 

In recent years, he has been on the performing stage very infrequently, having turned most of his attention to Clearwater, an organization he founded, which operates the sloop Clearwater on the Hudson River in order to advocate for a clean environment.

 

Seeger received the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest artistic honor, in 1996.  He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in 1996 for his album, “Pete.”

 

Rodrguez–Seeger first performed with his grandfather in 1986 when he was a young teenager.  He was a founding member of the band The Mammals, together with Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar.   With the Mammals he recorded five CDs.  Rodrguez–Seeger plays guitar, banjo, mandolin and harmonica. 

 

Singer and guitarist Guy Davis, a long-time Seeger family friend, refers to Pete as “Uncle Pete” because of the closeness of their relationship.  He has made appearances ranging from syndicated radio programs “Prairie Home Companion,” “World Café,” and “Mountain Stage” to television’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”  His album, “Legacy” was picked as one of the best CDs of the year by National Public Radio, and the lead track on it, “Uncle Tom’s Dead,” was chosen as one of the best songs of the year. 

 

Explaining the need for a New England micro-loan program for farmers, Strolling’s executive director, Orly Munzing of Dummerston, Vermont, said, “It can be very difficult for New England farmers to get loans to grow their businesses.” 

 

That’s because there are major micro-loan funds set up to benefit third-world farmers, but until recently, there were none in New England.   Strolling of the Heifers, which is working with The Carrot Project, an organization based in Somerville, Massachusetts, hopes its micro-loan program will help support farmers with solid businesses, who may nonetheless have difficulty accessing credit.

 

The Carrot Project hopes to roll out the New England loan program with Strolling of the Heifers next winter, according to Dorothy Suput, Carrot Project’s executive director.  At that time it will make available guidelines and information on how farmers may apply.

 

Strolling of the Heifers was founded in 2001 to promote awareness of the importance of agriculture in our daily lives, and to provide funding for educationally oriented agricultural programs for youth. 

 

The micro-loan fund represents an added direction for the organization, according to Munzing.  “Strolling of the Heifers focuses particularly on farmers using organic or other sustainable practices that are increasing the availability of local food in the community.  Often, they have small projects that traditional lenders like banks can’t really help out with.  Our program will help these farms increase their profitability and their viability.   We can’t afford to lose any more farms.”

 

Munzing added, “Pete Seeger, Guy Davis, and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger instantly recognize this real need regarding the struggle that family farmers face.  They recently helped raise over $70,000 on their sold-out, five-date tour in Ontario for USC-Canada, an organization dedicated to helping keep seeds within the farmers hands.”

 

Strolling is aiming to raise at least $100,000 for the fund.  The program has already received two large grants toward that goal, from the Thomas Thompson Trust and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.  “We hope this concert will put us over the top,” said Munzing.

 

The Carrot Project is a not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance to small and mid-sized farms, farms with limited resources, and farms using ecologically-friendly practices.  They provide loans, loan guarantees and help explore equity options for the farmers. 

 

According to Munzing, “The Carrot Project and Strolling of the Heifers share the same goal of increasing the amount of financing available for small-scale farmers in New England and increase the number of lenders working with smaller farms.”

 

The Upper Valley Haven is an ecumenical organization that has assisted more than 700 homeless families since 1981, with residential services, a food shelf and clothing room, and educational programming.

 

Tickets to the New England Farm Relief Concert will be priced at $50 for prime seating  seats; $35 or $30 for adults, and $10 for children 10 and under.   In addition, concertgoers are asked to bring a non-perishable food item, to be collected at the door, for The Haven’s food pantry.

 

Tickets may be obtained online from www.lebanonoperahouse.org, by phone from the Opera House at (603) 448-0400, or in person at the Opera House box office at Lebanon City Hall, 51N Park Street, Lebanon, New Hampshire.  Box office and telephone hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.  For additional information, visit www.lebanonoperahouse.org.

 

For additional information on the organizations that will benefit, visit www.strollingoftheheifers.com and www.uppervalleyhaven.org.

 

 

—30—

 

Note: USC-Canada, referred to above, is the organization’s full name; it was founded in 1948 as Unitarian Service Committee of Canada.

 

For information contact:

 

Martin C. Langeveld, Vernon Media Services

802-254-2407 or cell: 802-380-0226

langeveldvt@comcast.net

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Pete Seeger Concert to Aid Famers September 13th

The New England Farm Relief Concert
featuring Pete Seeger,
Tao Rodríguez-Seeger and Guy Davis

Saturday, September 13, 2008 at 7 p.m.
The Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, Vermont

 

In a rare public appearance, legendary folk singer Pete Seeger will perform, together with his grandson Tao Rodríguez-Seeger and blues artist Guy Davis, in a fund raising concert on September 13 at 7 p.m. at Brattleboro’s Latchis Theatre, co-produced by Strolling of the Heifers and Twin Cloud Concerts.

The event will benefit a new micro-loan program to help New England farmers, which is being established by Strolling of the Heifers, Inc. in partnership with The Carrot Project. Strolling of the Heifers is best known for its Strolling of the Heifers parade, held each year in June, in which dairy cattle and other farm animals lead an agriculturally-themed parade along Brattleboro’s Main Street to an all-day “dairy fest” on the grounds of the Brattleboro Retreat.

Seeger, at the age of 89, is a veteran of seven decades of performance and political activism. He has recorded dozens of albums and has written hundreds of songs, including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.”

In recent years, he has been on the performing stage very infrequently, having turned most of his attention to Clearwater, an organization he founded, which operates the sloop Clearwater on the Hudson River in order to advocate for a clean environment.

Seeger received the Presidential Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest artistic honor, in 1996. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, and won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Folk Album in 1996 for his album, “Pete.”

Rodríguez–Seeger first performed with his grandfather in 1986 when he was a young teenager. He was a founding member of the band The Mammals, together with Michael Merenda and Ruth Ungar. With the Mammals he recorded five CDs. Rodríguez–Seeger plays guitar, banjo, mandolin and harmonica.

Singer and guitarist Guy Davis, a long-time Seeger family friend, refers to Pete as “Uncle Pete” because of the closeness of their relationship. He has made appearances ranging from syndicated radio programs “Prairie Home Companion,” “World Café,” and “Mountain Stage” to television’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien.” His album, “Legacy” was picked as one of the best CDs of the year by National Public Radio, and the lead track on it, “Uncle Tom’s Dead,” was chosen as one of the best songs of the year.

In announcing the concert, Strolling’s executive director, Orly Munzing of Dummerston, said, “We’re truly honored that Pete Seeger has chosen to benefit Strolling of the Heifers and our microloan program in one of the very few appearances he will make this year.”

Explaining the need for a New England micro-loan program for farmers, Munzing said, “It can be very difficult for New England farmers to get loans to grow their businesses.”

That’s because there are major micro-loan funds set up to benefit third-world farmers, but until recently, there were none in New England. Strolling of the Heifers, which is working with The Carrot Project, an organization based in Somerville, Massachusetts, hopes its micro-loan program will help support farmers with solid businesses, who may nonetheless have difficulty accessing credit.

The Carrot Project hopes to roll out the New England loan program with Strolling of the Heifers next winter, according to Dorothy Suput, Carrot Project’s executive director. At that time it will make available guidelines and information on how farmers may apply.

Strolling of the Heifers was founded in 2001 to promote awareness of the importance of agriculture in our daily lives, and to provide funding for educationally oriented agricultural programs for youth.

The micro-loan fund represents an added direction for the organization, according to Munzing. “Strolling of the Heifers focuses particularly on farmers using organic or other sustainable practices that are increasing the availability of local food in the community. Often, they have small projects that traditional lenders like banks can’t really help out with. Our program will help these farms increase their profitability and their viability. We can’t afford to lose any more farms.”

Muzing added, “Pete Seeger and his friends instantly recognize this real need. They recently helped raise over $65,000 on their sold-out tour in Ontario for USC-Canada, an organization dedicated to helping Canadian farmers.”

Strolling is aiming to raise at least $100,000 for the fund. The program has already received two large grants toward that goal, from the Thomas Thompson Trust and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. “We hope this concert will put us over the top,” said Munzing.

The Carrot Project is a not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance to small and mid-sized farms, farms with limited resources, and farms using ecologically-friendly practices. They provide loans, loan guarantees and help explore equity options for the farmers.

According to Munzing, “The Carrot Project and Strolling of the Heifers share the same goal of increasing the amount of financing available for small-scale farmers in New England and increase the number of lenders working with smaller farms.”

Tickets to the New England Farm Relief Concert will be priced at $50 for front orchestra seats; $40 for rear and side orchestra seats, and $30 for balcony seats. For an additional $15, ticket holders at any level may attend a post-concert reception with the artists. Seating general admission in each ticket level section; there are no individual reserved seats. The show begins at 7 p.m.; doors will open at 6:15 p.m.

Tickets may be obtained online from www.brattleborotix.com; at the Latchis Hotel or Vermont Artisan Designs, both on Main Street, downtown Brattleboro, Vermont; or at Dynamite Records, 150 Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts. Cash or checks only at the Latchis, Vermont Artisans and Dynamite Records.

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Pete Seeger Concert – Sellersville, PA on August 6th

Pete Seeger, Tao Rodríguez-Seeger & Guy Davis in a Family Concert

Wednesday, August 6, 2008
8:00pm – SOLD OUT

A national treasure, Pete Seeger has been at the forefront of many American movements including labor, civil rights, peace & the environment. Musically, he formed the Almanac Singers with Woody Guthrie and then the Weavers where he enjoyed much success with folk tunes such as “Goodnight Irene” plus wrote the classics “If I Had a Hammer” & “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.” Pete was given the nation’s highest artistic honors at the Kennedy Center, is a member of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, won multiple Grammy Awards, and named one of America’s Living Legends by the Library of Congress.

Bluesman Guy Davis is a musician, composer, actor, director & writer. Among his many accolades, Guy became the 1993 winner of the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” presented to him by Robert Cray at the W.C. Handy Awards ceremony.

Mammals co-founder Tao Rodríguez-Seeger takes some of the simplest folk songs & traditional music, adding new layers, as he explores the roots of roots music. Tao performs in the tradition of his grand-father Pete Seeger having performed with him side-by-side since he was fourteen.

SELLERSVILLE THEATER 1894, Sellersville, PA 215-257-5808

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One of the folk music highlights of the year

Concert review: Pete Seeger

One of the folk music highlights of the year.

Patrick Langston, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, July 10, 2008

Folk music legend Pete Seeger – accompanied by his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger of folk-rockers the Mammals and acoustic bluesman Guy Davis – was leading an audience sing-along of She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain in the Library and Archives Canada auditorium Wednesday night. We thought we were doing fine until, with a look of mock sternness, he abruptly admonished us, “Some of you are sitting there preserving your academic objectivity.” Gesturing for us to join back in, but this time with some soul, please, he resumed the song. It was like a floodgate had burst: what had been enthusiastic audience participation turned suddenly into a barn-burner as almost 400 voices roared out the lyrics, accompanying them with vigorous gestures of reining in horses and other motions that are part of the song.

To an outsider, we might have looked bizarre – grey heads belting out a kids’ song. To us, it felt great. And for the 89-year-old, banjo-picking Seeger, it was bliss, leaving him beaming as he does whenever an audience gives back as good as they get.

What we got Wednesday night was one of the folk music highlights of the year, a two-hour show featuring Seeger, his grandson and Davis telling stories and singing everything from the rousing opener Midnight Special to the iconic anti-war song Where Have All the Flowers Gone? that left more than one audience member wiping away tears. Songs about equality, justice and social issues like capital punishment held special sway, as you’d expect in any concert involving Seeger, a lifelong social activist.

An Ottawa Folk Festival presentation, the show was the last concert in a sold-out mini-tour that saw the threesome play five small-venue concerts in five nights, including Toronto twice, Montreal and Kingston. The tour – arranged at the last minute and, if Ottawa was any example, sparkling with spontaneity as a result – was a benefit for the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada, with proceeds earmarked to assist farmers in developing countries.

“I told grandpa we were going to do this,” Tao said Wednesday, “and he said, ‘But I can’t sing anymore.'” True, Seeger, who now rarely performs, can’t sing as he did when he was the toast of the 1950s and ’60s folk music revival. But his voice still burns with conviction and when he throws his head back in that classic Seeger pose, you realize that music, especially the sing-along variety, is this man’s lifeblood. He might have been expected to fade as Wednesday’s concert stretched on; instead, his voice actually strengthened, his body seemed to grow looser and stronger.

Seeger, of course, was the star, but both his grandson and Davis gave excellent performances as well, often with Seeger playing banjo or singing harmony. And if they watched over him a little protectively, he returned their attention by observing their performances with a mix of grandfatherly fondness and professional evaluation.

There’s little chance Seeger will ever again play Ottawa. He, his grandson and Davis made sure we won’t forget the last time he did.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008

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Nearly 90 and still saving the world

Nearly 90 and still saving the world
Folk legend Pete Seeger on whirlwind tour

Patrick Langston
The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

When Pete Seeger answers the telephone at his home in upstate New York, there’s one banger of a summer storm going on.

“Pete, get off the phone! Lightning can come down the line and kill you,” someone shouts at him. But the revered folk singer and activist wants to chat, maybe realizing that, at 89, his talking days are limited. The lightning will just have to co-operate.

Forty-five minutes later, Seeger, who plays a sold-out show at Library and Archives Canada tonight, courtesy of the Ottawa Folk Festival, finally starts to lose steam. Along the way, he’s referenced the American anthropologist Margaret Mead and her fellow countryman, novelist Kurt Vonnegut, segued into the French medieval origin of the word “saunter,” and talked about his own role in helping ignite the folk music revival on the college circuit of the 1950s.

The banjo-playing musician loved by generations has also said he’s doing a quickly arranged and rapidly sold-out mini-tour of Montreal, Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa, (a benefit for the Unitarian Service Committe of Canada), partly because “I’m curious to see what’s going on in Canada. The French and English have reached a modus operandi. Lots of countries face this problem, and the ancient tradition of our big-brained species was to fight and one would take over the other.”

He adds that he’s looking forward to sharing the small-venue stages with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger of folk-rockers the Mammals and acoustic blues man Guy Davis, who’s also on this year’s Ottawa Bluesfest lineup.

Both Rodriguez-Seeger and Davis, reached separately, are delighted to talk about Seeger rather than themselves. “I think grandpa’s hard-wired to just keep going,” says Rodriguez-Seeger. “I think the only thing he regrets is not having saved the world enough.”

Davis, a family friend since he was seven years old, says: “What he can do is make others feel good about themselves.”

Seeger has been doing that since playing for union meetings and forming the Almanac Singers with Woody Guthrie and others as a young man in the early 1940s. He later launched the Weavers, who turned the post-war hit parade spotlight on folk music with songs like Goodnight Irene and On Top of Old Smokey.

Seeger, more whirlwind than man, was once a member of the Communist Party, found himself blacklisted for refusing to testify before the infamous House UnAmerican Activities Committee in 1955 (he didn’t play network television for 17 years as a result), and over the decades has been in the vanguard of the civil rights, peace and environmental movements including the clean-up of the filthy Hudson River, which his home overlooks.

A beacon for singers from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen – whose 2006 album We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions, is a joyous reinterpretation of tunes from the master’s songbook – Seeger has made countless recordings and written or co-written such timeless songs as If I Had a Hammer, Turn, Turn, Turn, and Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Seeger watches always for the extraordinary in the ordinary. He talks about the hundreds of community gardens in New York City that started with a few women and children picking up trash in a vacant lot and grew into a network of common purpose among people who would have otherwise never met.

“The powers that be can infiltrate any big organization they want and co-opt it and corrupt it. I’m sure this is what happened to the Sierra Club. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? Break up three, and four more spring up.”

Those little ones include children, and Seeger is renowned for his children’s concerts. “Children give you hope for the world,” he says when asked if he’s optimistic about mankind’s survival. “If there’s a world here, it will be because of people learning how to work with children.”

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008

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