Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Pete Seeger, 1919- 2014
Folk music, one of the earliest forms of music, was one of the very last musical styles I understood. Not literally, of course. I just wasn't able to actively listen for pleasure the way I would listen to everything else. Then something changed as I got older and once I had the ability and the sense and the understanding, folk music became as important to me as breathing.
If you asked me when I was 18 years old to give a listen to The Weavers or the Kingston Trio or Woody Guthrie, I might have laughed in your face. Even when I listened to Dylan, it was only electric Dylan. I was more interested in sound than words. It all changed for me when I realized that so many of the artists I had been listening to from The Beatles and Led Zeppelin and Bruce Springsteen, had all been influenced in some form by folk music.
Pete Seeger was a giant. A true hero.
I admit that even now I may reach for a Bruce Springsteen version of a Pete Seeger song before an actual Pete Seeger record. But I became more enriched, wiser, when I finally let artists like Phil Ochs and Judy Collins and Woody and especially Pete Seeger into my life.