Archive for October, 2008

Pete Seeger Playing Ann Arbor Folk Festival on January 31, 2009

The 32nd annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival, a fund-raising event for the beloved folk venue the Ark, announced its lineup Monday for the two-day event, which is generally considered the biggest event of the year for the metro Detroit folkies.

The first night’s (Jan. 30) headliner will feature experimental Americana from Jeff Tweedy, the man known best as the leader of Wilco. The Jan. 31 big names include country musician and actor Kris Kristofferson and beloved folkie Pete Seeger.

Also on the bill Jan. 30: the Old Crow Medicine Show, Carolina Chocolate Drop, Ryan Montbleau Band, Katie Herzig and more. Jan. 31: Girlyman, Luke Doucet and the White Falcon, and others. Additional artists are expected to be added.

“On one end you have Pete Seeger, who is one of the greatest icons of the folk scene,” said the Ark’s Executive Director Marianne James. “You just don’t get any more ‘folk’ than that. … At the other end you have Jeff Tweedy, whose work with Uncle Tupelo and Wilco fused alternative rock with country music and virtually created the alt-country genre.”

For the full lineup, and more information about tickets or the event, hit www.theark.org.

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Economic Crisis is “Garbage?”

Pete Seeger wrote this additional verse to Bill Steele’s song “Garbage” in the 1970’s.  It could be considered prophetic for times that we are now experiencing.

Oh, Garbage! Garbage! Garbage! Garbage!
There stocks and their bonds — all garbage!
Garbage! Garbage! Garbage! Garbage!
What will they do when their system goes to smash
There’s no value to their cash
There’s no money to be made
But there’s a world to be repaid
Their kids will read in history books
About financiers and other crooks
And feudalism, and slavery
And nukes and all their knavery
To history’s dustbin they’re consigned
Along with many other kinds of garbage.
Garbage! Garbage! Garbage! Garbage!

– jim Capaldi, Pete Seeger Appreciation Page

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Newsweek Interviews Pete Seeger

A Song for Every Season

Pete Seeger, still activeand acting upat 89

Brian Braiker
NEWSWEEK
Published Oct 10, 2008 | Updated: 10:57  a.m. ET Oct 10, 2008

Singer-songwriter, banjo-slinger, former Communist and lifelong activist Pete Seeger has released an album to celebrate his 89th birthday called, well, “At 89.” He spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Brian Braiker. Excerpts:

Hows your health?
My usual answer is “If I could remember I’d tell you.”

Why this album now?
It’s just a batch of new songs. Some funny. Some horrifying. My voice isn’t much anymore, so I got some other people to help me sing them.

You ve had some impressive help in the past. Youve played with Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie
I was singing peace songs when Stalin had the nonaggression pact with Hitler. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, June 22, 1941, Woody Guthrie had hitchhiked east to join me as a member of the Almanac Singers. I had hardly opened the door before he said, “Well I guess we won’t be singing any more peace songs.” I said “You mean we have to work with Churchill?” “Yes,” he says. “Churchill said all aid the ‘gallant Soviet allies.’ This the same Churchill who in 1920 said ‘strangle the Bolshevik infant in its cradle’.” Churchill flip-flopped!

Do you have any regrets or are you still proud of your affiliation with the Communist Party?
[Sings] “Franklin Roosevelt told the people how he felt/ We damn near believed what he said/ He said I hate war and so does Eleanor/ but we won’t be safe till everybody’s dead.” Should I apologize for that? I think so. Of course, I drifted out of the party in the early 1950s when I moved up to the country. In 1962 the Appeals Court acquitted me [for having been found in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955].

A little later, you wrote Waist Deep in the Big Muddy as an allegory about the Vietnam War. It s also on your new album. Is that a comment on Iraq?
Oh yes.

What is music for? Is it for entertaining, teaching, activism?
My father was a bureaucrat in the New Deal and he signed musicians to a development project. He said the important thing is not “is it good music?” but, “what is the music good for?”

Do you still chop wood every day?
Especially in the fall, because I have to get several cords of firewood to get through the winter. Frankly, it’s a recreation. It’s fun to split wood.

You are a perennial optimist. After 89 years, how?
The idea of you interviewing me would not have been approved 30 or 40 years ago by a publisher. They’d have said “let these lefties go to hell by themselves.” We played a program in Brooklyn last week. It was raining. They put up a tent and we had 2,000 people! My gosh did they sing.

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