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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

PETE SEEGER is remembered by musicians and many who knew him ~ Jan 29, 2014

Today, the Guide has two editions. The other one is a News and Live Music edition. This one is a special edition, and it's "part two" of our tribute to PETE SEEGER, who died Monday evening.

Yesterday’s edition of the Acoustic Americana Music Guide brought our initial tribute to the Folk-Americana music icon, and legend of human rights and social activism. But it immediately became clear that more was being said and written and needed to be shared with our readers.

Here, collected from various sources, are words about Pete, many that express his influence in very personal stories, some for the first time.

Arlo Guthrie wrote:

Pete Seeger:
I usually do a little meditation and prayer every night before I go to sleep - Just part of the routine. Last night, I decided to go visit Pete Seeger for a while, just to spend a little time together, it was around 9 PM. So I was sitting in my home in Florida, having a lovely chat with Pete, who was in a hospital in New York City. That's the great thing about thoughts and prayers-You can go or be anywhere.

I simply wanted him to know that I loved him dearly, like a father in some ways, a mentor in others and just as a dear friend a lot of the time. I'd grown up that way - loving the Seegers - Pete & Toshi and all their family.

I let him know I was having trouble writing his obituary (as I'd been asked) but it seemed just so silly and I couldn't think of anything that didn't sound trite or plain stupid. "They'll say something appropriate in the news," we agreed. We laughed, we talked, and I took my leave about 9:30 last night.

"Arlo" he said, sounding just like the man I've known all of my life, "I guess I'll see ya later." I've always loved the rising and falling inflections in his voice. "Pete," I said. "I guess we will."

I turned off the light and closed my eyes and fell asleep until very early this morning, about 3 AM when the texts and phone calls started coming in from friends telling me Pete had passed away.

"Well, of course he passed away!" I'm telling everyone this morning. "But that doesn't mean he's gone."


Peter Krantz, at 11:47pm:
Wow, not Pete Seeger???!!!! I figured he was indestructible! So sad, the world is diminished with his loss.


Judy Collins photo:
At the 2013 Clearwater Festival. Toshi Seeger, Tinya Seeger, Judy Collins and Pete Seeger.
Via Marcia Stehr.


Jim Lauderdale:
The last time I saw Pete was a few years ago at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival. He led the crowd in a sing along to Amazing Grace and it was one of the most moving beautiful things I have ever experienced. His grandson, Tao (who is a fine musician), was with him and it was very touching to see how he cared and loved him. He was a man who lived by his beliefs and convictions. Truly helping to make the world a better place. He helped bring about change and was unafraid to take a stand about such things like civil rights and the environment when it was unpopular and dangerous. He lived with strength, grace and kindness. What an inspiration. Thank you Pete for your music and the way you lived. Rest in peace. --- Jim


Jerry Yester:
A few major markers in my life are: hearing the Weavers Carnegie Hall concert #1 for the first time; getting my Vega Pete Seeger long neck banjo with Pete's signature inside; September 23rd 1964, waiting with the MFQ backstage at the Hollywood Bowl to go on for the No on Prop 14 Benefit concert, five feet away from my Hero (I was too backward and shy to say Hello); and seeing Pete in his TV debut after the blacklist, on the Smothers Bros. show singing "We're knee deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool says to push on". There were lots of others involving Pete. There were lots of moments with Dave Guard, my #2 Hero, and Pete was his #1. What an amazing man Pete was. It's hard to imagine in my quite normal self involved world, someone who consistently gave so much to so many, on a daily basis. Thanks so much Pete for all you gave to me. I think you and Toshi are reunited. Bless you both


Peter Krantz:
I am amazed by how many of my FB friends knew Pete Seeger personally or had at least met him. While this may testify as to the great musical connections of my FB friends, I think its more due to Pete's outgoing nature, sharing spirit and wonderful sense of community! If we indeed are "the tribe" that many think we are, then Pete was our "shaman"!


Suzzy Roche:
Pete Seeger will live forever... a brave soul...a adventurer. A national treasure for sure.


Robert Morgan Fisher:
THIS IS A MAN: Pete Seeger suffered for his art, and his art was all about making life better for everyone. They used to detain him at airports and destroy his handmade guitar ("searching for drugs" supposedly--he never touched the stuff). Stand up and be counted, don't let the bastards get you down. That's what Pete Seeger taught me. Thank you, Pete.


Paul Zollo shared Peter Zollo's photo.
nice - the two most important Petes in my life - Seeger & Zollo - my brother Peter has idolized and loved Pete as much as I did, and my dad did, our whole lives. I was lucky to get to interview Pete several times - this one in NY where I took this photo; afterwards we went out for lunch with Pete and Toshi with the hopes of a long talk with Pete. But he was hungry - and instead of talking much, he polished off two complete lunches. My office is a shrine to him - with letters, cards and even a leaf he sent me back in 1988, after our first interview. He said "all songwriters are links in a chain." But without his link, songwriting would never have been the same. Love you Pete.


Peter Zollo:
(Photo) with Pete Seeger, one of my heroes, who died last night at 94. He's my answer to the question, "If you could have dinner with anybody, who would it be?" I had lunch with Pete, his wife Toshi, and my brother Paul Zollo about 10 years ago in NYC. How lucky and amazing.


Bill Burnett:
Very sad to learn of the death of Pete Seeger, a true American and a truly great artist, singer, player, and eternal flame spirit. Here's a post I did about him a few year's back at The Songmine. We never did get Pete his Nobel prize. Maybe posthumously?


Jeff Kossack:
Sad day losing anyone, but saddest for losing Pete Seeger, one of folk's founding fathers, and carrier of the flame...

The best tribute I can think of would be to make good music, today and always...

Fare thee well, Pete Seeger...


Lisa Nemzo:
Pete Seeger hosted a local talent show at the Newport Folk Festival one summer- I was 13 or 14 yrs old. I played one of my originals and he told me I was very good and to never give up! To believe in myself. He was a very encouraging and supportive man.

In 2011, I asked his permission to use a few lines from "Where Have All the Flowers Gone " at the end of my song and music video "Arlington". His reply was, may I hear it and what is the intention for the video? I answered it was to promote peace and to honor the fallen veterans and help those returning with PTSD. Permission came swiftly from him and his sister. I was beyond thrilled. When I read the news of his passing, it felt like someone close to me had died. Sadness and the loss of a hero in many ways. He modeled standing up for what you believed in. An American folk hero. He will be missed.

FAREWELL TO PETE SEEGER who gave us decades of music & social activism. Thank you for all of it, Pete & for reminding us to "Turn, Turn, Turn." RIP


DeAnna Davis-Rice Âû:
RIP Pete Seeger, we have lost a important voice, an important musician, a great great man. My prayers to his family. X*{


Media Matters for America:
Thanks to Pete Seeger for reminding us what it means to be a good person--and a good American. We'll miss you, Pete.


Rick Shea shared Bryan Thomas's photo:
2-year-old Pete Seeger with his musical family.


Kristin DeWitt and Gene Mynahan shared a link.

House Unamerican Activities Committee, August 18, 1955, with Pete Seeger.

Kristin DeWitt:
This is just fascinating. And inspirational.


The Harry Chapin site shared Jen Chapin's post, from near Brooklyn, NY:
My brother just texted me that Pete Seeger has died. I'm crying a little, not from sadness so much as deep gratitude and wonder for this life.


Annie Wenz:
Celebrate Pete Seeger... Such an inspiration! May we all learn from him. Sing together. Make a difference. Leave something beautiful behind!

My Pete story... Several years ago, I was approached by my good friend Rik Palieri who'd been friends with Pete for years. Rik had toured with some great guys in Germany & they decided to put together "Deutsch American Folk tours" where songwriters would use music as an example of bringing people together, in the US & Germany. Pete was endorsing & Martin Guitars was sponsoring the tour.

Rik was talking with Pete who was giving all sorts of input & guidance. Pete said "You need women too!"... so I was asked... (yaaay!)

The tours were SUCH an amazing, amazing experience. I've always been so grateful to Rik & to Pete for making sure we carried & passed that torch...

(Thanks to Jake Jacobson for the great photo capturing Pete's Joy!, & to Bernd Häber for continuing to pass Pete's torch as well)

Jake Jacobson:
So many pictures of Pete today. (Photo) This one is at Newport in 2009. Remember him with your actions.


Matt Cartsonis, at 12:37 am, just after the news of Pete's death; near Santa Monica, CA:

I first met Pete Seeger the same way everybody else of my generation did… through "Birds, Beasts, Bugs and Little Fishes" and "Concert at Town Hall". "3 Saints, 4 Sinners and 6 Other People". I learned how to yodel on "Way Out There, and got my first bump-ditty banjo licks from his little red book.

I got to know who he was through "The Incompleat Folksinger" and the subscription to Sing Out! Magazine my aunt and uncle got me in high school… where, in his column, "Johnny Appleseed, Jr.", he once published his mailing address.

I made contact with him via that address when I was working as a so-called counselor for juvenile delinquents in Key West, Florida. I had a copy of Pete's book, "The Steel Drums of Kim Loy Wong" that I'd dragged with me from Arizona, and we had all these 55-gallon drums all over the Navy yard where I lived, and thought it would be good angst reduction therapy for the juvies to pound on said barrels with sledgehammers to make musical pans. And, thanks to Pete's instruction, we managed to actually do it-- but they didn't look like modern steel drums. So I wrote to Pete about it. And he wrote back, explaining why. And tonight I really wish those mice in Poughkeepsie hadn't made nesting material out of that letter.

Three months later I was up at Vassar, and met Pete in person at the Clearwater annual meeting. We were introduced, and he says, "Matt, do you play the banjo?" and hands me his. The one we all know. He takes my guitar and we sit down and pick for about an hour. I'm not sure I've gotten over that moment yet. No… I am sure. I haven't. And won't.

Then there were the crazy shenanigans with Kim, Norman, Geoff Brown… recording "The New Hamburg Soft Shoe" down in the City, and playing on the train-- and being told to shut up by the conductor--"passengers are complaining."

Then… the summer working on the Revival up in their barn (Toshi plucked me out of the Clearwater office where I'd been volunteering answering phones). Pete waking me up at 6am with banjo licks "We've got to take the truck down to Newburgh to get those folding chairs for the Strawberry Festival…"

Holy cow, there are a lot of stories.

Through the years I saw Pete and Toshi sporadically-- sometimes in Arizona, a couple of times here in California, and I tried to time my infrequent trips back to New York to coincide with the first Friday of the month, when the Beacon Sloop Club has its regular meetings, traditionally ending with a Pete-led hoot. Sometimes Kim and I would drop in up at the house. As Pete got older, his memory of me faded a little, but Toshi's didn't…

For those who never got to meet Pete or Toshi… they were everything you'd hope they'd be. And it is going to be a very, very weird world without them. So long, Pete. It WAS good to know you.

Matt Cartsonis later added:
I neglected to mention, by the way, that one of the main reasons I went to Vassar College in the first place is because Pete (I'm not a stalker, just like to be around quality) and the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater were around Poughkeepsie. Figured that to do good stuff, the first step is to show up. Much to the degradation of my grade point average… but, well, I can affirm: in the long run, no regrets.


Chad Watson shared Matt Cartsonis's photo; Chad wrote:
We will miss you, sir! Thanx Matt for the great stories... (Photo: Matt Cartsonis with Norman Plankey and Pete Seeger).


Tom Prasada-Rao:
Farewell Pete Seeger - you were such an inspiration! I'll never forget the day at the Portland Folk Alliance when you tracked me down to give me a pep talk. Thank you for your magnificent life!


Pat Wictor:
My first time seeing Pete Seeger up close was at a house concert on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, 14+ years ago. Standing 10 feet from him, what I remember most was his outstanding musicianship. He played the banjo with nuance I'd never seen, pulling jazz chords and moving lines out of it. Of course, he led us all in singing together - and I understood for the first time that he could lead us so well because, among his many brilliant qualities, he was a master musician. I'll bet he's learning more songs from the ancestors, even now.


Gene Mynahan:
"This machine (banjo) surrounds hate and forces it to surrender." ~ Peter "Pete" Seeger (May 3rd, 1919 ~ January 27th, 2014)


Michael Ann Azoulai:
"The key to the future of the world, is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known"-thank you Pete Seger. You are a legend. RIP.


Angela Easterling:
Wonderful obituary by Chris Morris. What a life and what an inspiration.

Folk Music Legend Pete Seeger Dies at 94
Folk singer Pete Seeger, who established the …


Gene Mynahan, at the conclusion of the State of the Union speech:
No mention of Pete Seeger's passing, is that correct or did I just miss it?
Fakepage Foraccessonly:
The President did not mention Pete in the SOTU, and he should have. Pete, with Bruce Springsteen and other music luminaries, all performed in that amazing concert in DC two days before Barack Obama was Inaugurated in 2009. They expressed the hope for the change we're still waiting for. The President did make fitting remarks about Pete earlier today.
Gene Mynahan:
...Nobody engendered the Progressive movement in this country more so than Mr. Seeger, nobody.


Greg Newlon:
rip Pete...if the rest of us would only contribute 1/1000 of what you did....

***  ***  ***

Many comments were made about Matt Cartsonis' essay on Pete Seeger (included in the foregoing). Some comments are so good we decided to share them:

Julie Maxey Zipperer:
RIP Pete Seeger! here's a beautiful tribute to him from a friend of mine, Matt Cartsonis!

David Serby:
Please read my pal Matt Cartsonis' beautiful tribute to Pete Seeger. Thanks, Matt for sharing your moments and memories.

Karen Hinderstein:
Thanks Matt. Love you.

Mark Lennon:
Thanks Matt, his legend will live because of people like you.

Carol McGovney:
Thank you Matt, for sharing great memories of The Legend, Pete Seeger, his kindness his talent his Goodness.

David Plenn:
Perfect: one storyteller celebrates another storyteller. Thanks for sharing, Matt.

Russell Paris:

Miriam Cutler:
Thanks for your beautiful post...crying...

Jonathan Wyner:
I'm so affected by his passing. Pete was one who championed truly American music and spirit - elevated from music by the folks to music by and for PEOPLE. His social justice spirit was woven into my life….and all the best to Kim, Jesse, Joel, Cory, Alice….on my mind.

John Sidle:
Last night we saw Sara Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion in concert. They mentioned Pete and sang one of his recent songs. We all ended up singing "This Land Is Your Land." I don't think they knew of Pete's death. It was a magical evening.

John Sidle:
Saw Pete around 1958 when I was a kid. He sat way up on a ladder back chair hunched over a mandolin playing "Woody's Rag." I thought he would fall over backwards! Next time at Fox Hollow Folk Festival around 1965. It was held outdoors on the Beers family property. I remember Pete's old 12-string with the triangular sound hole. There was a group of four or five of us (I think David Bromberg was there) and I believe we played together for a tune or two. Next morning, we campers were awakened to the strains of "Pretty Saro"... Pete piping on recorder down in the hollow. Truly, this is the end of an era.

Saralinda Subbiondo:
Beautiful. .thank you, Matt. So sorry for the loss of your friend xo

Tim Davis:
Love this, Mr. C. Thanks for keeping Pete alive - through you and your music. Just as Pete did w so many folks... and songs... and ideas... that came before him. I guess that's why they call it folk music. Though "human" music might've worked too. RIP Pete.

Jessie Rothwell:
love love love this story. Thanks, Matt.

Stephen Patt:
Keep the music flowin, bro...a loss to all of us, but he led a long and glorious life. See ya soon, s

Robert Morgan Fisher:
Tell it. Godspeed, Pete.

Richard Parks:
Thanks for taking us up to Beacon, Matt, and thanks for this remembrance.

Matt Cartsonis:
Richard, I am extraordinarily happy that happened. Was just remembering.

David Katz:
I'm glad you are around to remember him, genuine era on and fine writer that you are.

Pierce Gardner:
Your stories are heartfelt and touching. Thanks for sharing them with us. Pete was one of a kind, that's for sure, but he'll live on, in his music, and the memories of all who knew him.

Gary Austin Workshops:
I met Pete Seeger once. It was in the green room at The Greek Theatre in LA. He and Arlo had just done a concert and I told Pete "you're my hero." He told me that I shouldn't think of him as my hero. He told me why and I don't remember what he said. My sense memory tells me that to idolize another is to avoid doing and being that which one admire's in the "worshipped one."

Louisa Rachel Solomon:
Thanks, Matt. I'm so sorry -- it's always too soon with these giants. I feel lucky to know YOU and get to hear your stories.

Neal Skorka:
Thanks Matt. Beautifully said. I listened to Pete and the Weavers when I was a kid, spent two years working aboard Clearwater, and met my wife there, too. So Pete, unbeknownst to him, has always been part of the foundation of my life....I just never realized it till today. Imagine how many other people he has touched.

Matt Cartsonis:
It's sort of like contemplating the confines of the universe. And I'm not being cosmic.

Neal Skorka:
Yep. And he had 94 years to touch that universe.

Phoebe McKinney:
Now that was a great story to read about him. Thanks for sharing it, Matt. I remember Pete Seeger playing in the Vassar Chapel, and then meeting him sometime later in Cold Springs. He was such a humble and genuine man. I have been telling my colleagues here in Liberia all day long about an American hero named, "Pete Seeger," and how he made music his whole life for peace, justice, and solidarity. They were the ones who actually started calling him a hero after I told them about Seeger. And I couldn't agree with them more. RIP, you beautiful, peace-filled man.

Gary Austin Workshops:
MATT, Wendy Ishii sent this to me and it's meant for you. "Oh Matt, I have been thinking of you all morning and listening to your recording of "Sailing Time" as the tears flow... holding your hand in sorrow... xxx oo"

Matt Cartsonis:
"It's time to go now…"

Tirosh Schneider:
Thank you Matt, this is beautiful. He was the first concert I ever went to (at about 3 years old), and I haven't stopped listening to him since. Every story I hear is further confirmation that he is a real-life hero -artistically, politically, and personally. Thank you for carrying on his legacy and his spirit.

Dan Perloff:
First Warren and now Pete, coincidence, I think not.

Matt Cartsonis:

Ask Chris Morris.
Speaking of whom:

Folk Music Legend Pete Seeger Dies at 94.

So long, Pete. It’s been good to know you.
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