Jesse Winchester’s “A Reasonable Amount of Trouble” CD reaps two Grammy nominations!
With a bittersweet irony he might have ruefully appreciated, the late Jesse Winchester’s final studio album, A Reasonable Amount of Trouble, was nominated for two 2015 Grammy Awards on December 5.
Recorded between the extraordinary singer-songwriter’s bouts with cancer in 2011 and 2013, A Reasonable Amount of Trouble is one of five nominees for Best Folk Album of the Year, and “Just So Much,” its heartbreakingly graceful acceptance of mortality, was nominated as Best American Roots Song.
“We are so proud of these nominations,” Appleseed president Jim Musselman told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Jesse is one of the finest human beings and artists I ever had the pleasure to work with. I just wish he was here to see this happen.”
When he returned to the recording studio in 2012 after beating a frightening case of esophageal cancer in 2011, Winchester had written nine new songs. Some of the songs reflected the shadow of the cancer he had fought off (but that re-emerged to claim him in April 2014, a few weeks before his 70th birthday). In fact, two of the album’s stand-outs are the opening track, the openly existential “All That We Have is Now” and the closing recognition of life’s fleetness in the Grammy-nominated “Just So Much.”
Since its September 2014 release, A Reasonable Amount of Trouble has been receiving the praise it well deserves, including a ten-minute segment on NPR's "Here & Now" program that you can listen to here. And take a look at the great reviews the CD has been receiving here.
Winchester’s previous CD (and Appleseed debut), 2009's Love Filling Station was his tenth studio recording and first CD release since 1999’s well-titled Gentleman of Leisure.
The 57th Annual Grammy Awards will be announced and telecast on February 8, 2015, from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Among Jesse’s competition in the Best American Roots Song category are the legendary Woody Guthrie and well-known contemporary songwriters Rosanne Cash, John Hiatt, Edie Brickell and Steve Martin.
Jesse Winchester Remembered by His Peers
We at Appleseed were far from the only people heartbroken by Jesse’s passing. For more than forty years, he was the songwriters’ songwriter and the musicians’ musician, and many of them weighed in with their sense of loss, as did thousands of fans who felt he knew them and they knew him.
Bob Dylan was already on record as saying, “You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him.” Joan Baez wrote, “Thank you, Jesse Winchester. You will be missed.” From Jerry Douglas: “Godspeed to gentle soul and precious friend, Jesse Winchester.” And from Winchester’s Appleseed labelmate, Jonathan Edwards: “I'm so grateful for the opportunity he gave all of us to visit the environment he gently and invitingly created on stage, no matter the size or shape of the venue; to come into his world of genteel Southern charm and dry, incisive wit and stay for a while. The world is a better place having seen the precious colors he painted it with and the soulful intellect he brought to its presentation.” In his liner notes to A Reasonable Amount of Trouble, Jimmy Buffett writes, “In my way of thinking, Jesse may no longer reside in the world of matter, but his energy sure as hell does. It is timeless and eternal and will be with us always from Montreal to Memphis, to those red skies off toward New Orleans” (referring to a line from one of Jesse’s earliest and best-known songs, “Biloxi”).
A particular surprise, though, was a retweet by Jerry Seinfeld to his 2.3 million Twitter followers of an April 11 tweet from Albert Brooks, the witheringly funny actor, writer, and director, which read “R.I.P Jesse Winchester. If you watch this and you’re not moved you're dead” and provided this link to a viral video of Jesse performing the tender “Sham-a-Ling-Dong-Ding” from 2009’s Love Filling Station, his first CD for Appleseed, on Elvis Costello’s Spectacle television series. That’s alt.country singer-songwriter and critical darling Neko Case in tears by the end of the song, while host Elvis Costello was later quoted as saying, “I just bowed my head and told the audience that they had to go home because I could not gather myself to make the next introduction, such was supernatural beauty of his voice.” The video helped reignite Jesse's performing career and was shown on the Today Show website and more than a hundred other online sites, putting a face to a name now known by new converts to Winchester fandom.
Rest in Peace, Jesse
JESSE WINCHESTER (1944 - 2014)
While each of us is unique in our own ways, Jesse Winchester's death after several gallant years of struggle against the cancer that finally took him leaves an unfillable hole in our world.
Jesse's songs are Jesse himself: full of grace, humor, insight, faith and love. His weightless Southern drawl, slightly rumpled demeanor, and wry but deep relationship with God were all part of his music and his life.
There are not enough adjectives to summarize this soft spoken, self-deprecating man, as anyone who has heard his music or had the added pleasure of seeing him in concert can attest. To listen to his songs -- too many unforgettable ones to require naming -- is to be enriched, not just entertained.
We at Appleseed are beyond fortunate to have helped bring his music to the all-too-frequently meaningless "recording industry." Jesse was and will long remain an exemplar of talent, warmth and a true artist's healing power.
A perfect example of Jesse's understated approach to life and to the adversity he faced in recent times is the title he gave to his soon-to-be-released CD on our label: "A Reasonable Amount of Trouble." No self-pity, just a rueful smile. The all-star tribute album organized by Jimmy Buffett in the wake of Jesse's first bout of illness in 2011 equally captured the essence of his art and his bravery: "Quiet About It."
Some of our fondest memories of Jesse in concert include his between-songs banter, sometimes followed by his unexpected cackle of laughter at his own mishaps and frailties; his incongruous little knee-flapping dance near the end of each show; and his boundless courtesy in talking to his fervent fans after the concerts.
We share the grief of his family, particularly his most dearly beloved wife Cindy and his children, and of all those who have been, or will be touched by his music and his spirit for many years to come.
A gentle man, a gentleman, an incomparable artist. We know he has finally, if all too soon, reached the farside banks of the river Jordan and waits there in the sun.
-- Alan Edwards, Appleseed Recordings
I am very sad to report that Jesse Winchester died on Friday, April 11. Jesse was a beautiful human being and one of the most wonderful artists that I have had the honor to work with. He was one of the most grateful musicians I have ever worked with. We just finished recording a new CD with him called A Reasonable Amount of Trouble and he was very excited about the songs on the album. Jesse recorded a new song about life called "All That We Have is Now" about living life fully, and also a beautiful song about facing death titled "Just So Much" that I cannot listen too without getting tears in my eyes. He showed such courage facing death and was strong throughout. We all can learn a lot from him in many ways.
This business can be very stressful at times, but Jesse made everything a joy and I am heartbroken over the loss of this remarkable musician. Jesse had to leave America during the Vietnam War, and one can only wonder what would have happened if he did not have to leave.
– Jim Musselman, President, Appleseed Recordings
(for more details on Jesse's passing, please follow this link.
WORLDBEAT STAR AND ACTIVIST JOHNNY CLEGG: NEW LIVE ACOUSTIC CD AND MAJOR NORTH AMERICAN TOUR – NOW!
Even if you’re located too far from one of the forty North American cities that South African world music crossover star Johnny Clegg and his band has been touring, starting March 14 (click for itinerary), you can still hear Johnny performing live!
Johnny’s new CD, Best, Live & Unplugged at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, is now available as a mail order through Appleseed’s website, CD Baby, and as an iTunes download, as well as in other online and bricks-and-mortar stores starting April 29.
Recorded at a special acoustic concert late last year, Johnny (vocals, guitar, melodica, concertina) and four additional musicians continue his intimate and infectious fusion of Western instrumentation and traditional African rhythms and backing vocals (with some lyrics sung in Zulu). Listen to these taut, propulsive new arrangements of “Scatterlings of Africa,” “Impi,” “Cruel Crazy Beautiful World” and many of the most popular, powerful and universal songs from the repertoire of Johnny’s apartheid-defying integrated bands Juluka and Savuka, which built global followings in the ’70s and ’80s, and from Johnny’s subsequent recordings as a solo artist.
For more than three decades, Clegg has dazzled audiences around the world with his live shows, infectious and meaningful songs and his outspoken views on apartheid, meanwhile racking up millions of record sales and numerous awards, including a Knighthood from the French government. His Human CD, released by Appleseed in 2010, was his first US album in 17 years despite multiple tours here and import-only albums.
Clegg’s music with Juluka and Savuka, had an audible influence on Paul Simon’s best-selling Graceland CD and the ethnic experimentations of Sting and Peter Gabriel. The South African vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a major presence on Graceland, will be sharing the bill with the Johnny Clegg Band on various dates this spring, and the show opener at many gigs will be Johnny’s 25-year-old son Jesse, an accomplished musician with a gold record in South Africa already to his credit. Johnny’s new CD is available for sale at his concerts.
If you follow this link, you can read more about Johnny.
To hear Johnny Clegg talk about his music, life, and activism in an interview broadcast by the nationally syndicated NPR program "Here & Now" on April 28, 2014, and perform a solo version of his best-known song, "Scatterlings of Africa," which appears in an acoustic band version on Best, Live & Unplugged at the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town, please follow this link.
For more interviews with Johnny, from past tours:
Follow this LINK to the interview conducted by Euan Kerr on Minneapolis Public Radio.
Boston radio station WBUR interviewed Johnny on their "Radio Boston" show: Follow this LINK to hear the interview.
Johnny’s in-studio performance and interview with David Dye, host of the Philadelphia-based, syndicated "World Cafe" radio program can be heard by following this link.
NPR's Morning Edition broadcasted an interview between Johnny and program host Renee Montagne that included excerpts from Johnny's Human CD and can be heard by clicking on this link.
Hear Johnny discuss his new CD in depth and his thoughts on contemporary African music and politics in an interview with Banning Eyre on Afropop Worldwide / Afropop.org, an internationally syndicated weekly radio series and website hub for African and world music news in this video.
PETE SEEGER - 5/3/1919 - 1/27/2014
We deeply mourn the passing of Pete Seeger. We believe that nobody is truly gone until all those who are touched or influenced by that person are gone from the Earth.. So Pete will live on in the hearts and minds of so many for years to come. His vision of peace and justice and equality for all will live on and continue to influence. His music has been used all over the world for social justice. From the Civil Rights movement to the anti-war movements Pete and his songs have been there on the front lines. Like a ripple that keeps going out from a pond Pete's music will keep going out all over the world spreading the message of non-violence and peace and justice and equality for all. Wherever people are fighting to be free or fighting for equality Pete's songs and Pete's vision will be there with them.
-- Jim Musselman
President, Appleseed Recordings
(photo by David Bernz)
2013 WINTER HOLIDAY SUPER SALE WITH FREE SHIPPING!
What better time than the winter holiday season to buy some great music at sale prices for your family, your friends, and yourself?
Here are great prices and free shipping on our hottest deals:
-- You can order our two newest releases by some of our country’s premier roots musicians – the David Bromberg Band’s critically acclaimed CD (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR’s “All Things Considered”) Only Slightly Mad (usually $16 plus shipping), and the two-disc live CD/DVD by Tom Rush (and special guests), Celebrates 50 Years of Music (usually $22 plus shipping) – for a total of $30, with free shipping, a savings of more than $15.
-- Our two new Pete Seeger releases – Pete Seeger & Lorre Wyatt: A More Perfect Union (regular price $16 plus shipping) and Pete Seeger: Pete Remembers Woody (2-CD set regularly priced at $20 plus shipping) – are on sale together for a total of $30 including shipping). Read more about these CDs in the news item lower on this page.
-- Buy four or more Appleseed CDs (2-CD sets count as two CDs) and receive a free copy of our 2-CD Sowing the Seeds – The 10th Anniversary label sampler – 37 tracks including eight exclusive recordings by Pete Seeger & Bruce Springsteen, Donovan, Ani Difranco and more. Again, shipping is free! Our single CDs are generally priced at $15 each and double-CDs vary in cost from $20 - $23; please check the price on each CD’s website page.
-- Buy any 10 Appleseed CDs (2-CD sets count as two CDs) – all new releases and in-print titles are eligible – for $100 and free shipping within the US.
While you're here on our website, we hope you'll browse through our roster of outstanding releases by other noted musicians such as Tom Paxton, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Jesse Winchester, Jonathan Edwards and Roger McGuinn – you’ll find something for everyone.
Please note that the free shipping offers apply only to orders within the United States. Sorry! Our international shipping rates can be found here.
To make ordering easier this year, we will accept orders via e-mail to Alan.at.Appleseed@gmail.com, as well as by snail mail (to Appleseed Recordings/P.O. Box 2593/West Chester, PA 19380), and telephone (215-628-4562). For mail order and phone orders, please include either a check made out to Appleseed Recordings and send to the address above or leave your credit card info on the above secure phone line (including your name and mailing address, credit card expiration date and security code; sorry, no Discover cards; please call between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST). For e-mail orders, please include a phone number at which we can reach you for your credit card info.
Thanks for your past purchases, congratulations on your good taste, and Happy Holidays!
NEW RELEASES BY TOM RUSH AND DAVID BROMBERG AVAILABLE NOW!
When it comes to great music, too much is never enough. So we’re delighted to announce new recordings on Appleseed by two of our favorite – and your favorite – artists, Tom Rush and David Bromberg.
First up is a live 2-disc CD/DVD set by the consummate contemporary folk performer, songwriter and “man with the golden years,” Tom Rush, as he Celebrates 50 Years of Music. This release is AVAILABLE NOW through our website, its link to the CD Baby website, and its link to iTunes, as well as from online and bricks-and-mortar stores and digital download sites..
To mark his half century in music, Tom revived his “Club 47 Series” and presented a concert at Boston Symphony Hall in December 2012 that featured him performing some of his classic repertoire, and sharing the spotlight with old friends (and fellow Appleseed artists) David Bromberg and Jonathan Edwards, Buskin & Batteau, and “the new guy,” vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Tom’s guests each get a song or two as frontmen and join the stellar house band to back up each other and Tom.
The CD half of Celebrates contains 13 songs; the DVD includes a 17-song version of the concert, plus bonus features including previously unreleased interviews with Tom, rehearsal footage, and lots of entertaining on-stage banter. (You’ll roar as Tom and David Bromberg “roast” each other.)
Speaking of David Bromberg, the master of roots music traveled to Woodstock this past spring to cut a new record in the late Levon Helm’s studio, enlisting Larry Campbell, who helmed (oh, bad pun) Levon’s three Grammy-winning albums, as producer and additional guitarist. In contrast to his 2011 release, Use Me, which featured David performing with (and often produced by) Dr. John, Widespread Panic, John Hiatt, Los Lobos and other stars, he merged his own touring musicians with members of Levon’s group and daughter Amy Helm, of the band Ollabelle, with guest appearances John Sebastian on harmonica and banjoist John McEuen (founder member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), for the Woodstock sessions to create the David Bromberg Band’s Only Slightly Mad, AVAILABLE NOW directly from Appleseed, at CDBaby.com and on iTunes (follow the links from our website), or wherever you purchase your music.
As you’d expect, the new CD is stuffed with songs steeped in Americana – modern and traditional folk, blues, bluegrass, gospel, even a bit of a cappella. On new originals and classic covers, David’s distinctive vocals ring out confidently and his world-class skills as electric, slide, and acoustic guitarist and mandolinist are fully on display without overpowering the material. It’s a particular treat to hear the guitar interplay between David and Larry Campbell, both of whom have worked frequently with Bob Dylan. This is a band effort.
On October 18, NPR's All Things Considered aired an interview between host Robert Siegel and David, discussing David's long and colorful musical background and spinning some excerpts from Only Slightly Mad. American Songwriter has already proclaimed the CD "crazy good," and you can follow this link to an interview with David conducted by the magazine in which he talks about Only Slightly Mad, performs “You’ve Got to Mean It Too” from the CD (his love song to his wife Nancy of the late, lamented Angel Band), and discusses recording with Bob Dylan.
JESSE WINCHESTER EMERGES FROM THE RECORDING STUDIO!
Now finished and in the polishing stages is, miraculously enough, a new studio set by the revered Southern singer and songwriter Jesse Winchester. When news of Jesse’s cancer of the esophagus spread throughout the music community a year or two after the 2009 release of his superb Love Filling Station, a feeling of dread descended. Jimmy Buffett organized a tribute CD, Quiet About It, of major artists covering Jesse’s songs to help with hospital bills. And after surviving surgery, chemo- and radiation therapy, Jesse gradually regained his strength, started writing and recording the kind of songs that have earned him reverence and cover versions by everyone from Elvis Costello (a major fan) and Tom Rush to The Everly Brothers and Patti Page), and has recorded his next album, as yet untitled and still to be scheduled for release. Jesse used Buffett’s producer, Mac McAnally, and band on his new CD and has proclaimed himself more than satisfied with the sessions. And if it’s good enough for one of the most enduring songwriters and underrated vocalists of our time, we’re looking forward to presenting it to you as an early 2014 release.
WORLD-RENOWNED VOCAL ENSEMBLE SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK ADDS SOMETHING DIFFERENT – A JAZZ TRIO! – ON NEW 2-CD LIVE SET AND UPCOMING SPECIAL SHOWS CELEBRATING MUSICAL INFLUENCES
NEWS FLASH: First Lady Michelle Obama, who has called SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK one of her “favorite groups in the whole wide world,” attended the SWEET HONEY "Tribute" CD release concert at Washington, D.C.’s Howard Theatre on Thursday, March 7. The a cappella quintet previously performed at the White House in 2009 at First Lady Obama’s request.
Backstage at the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., 3/7: (l. to r.) Sweet Honey In The Rock sign language interpreter Shirley Childress, Sweet Honey vocalists Aisha Kahlil, Louise Robinson, Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sweet Honey vocalists Carol Maillard and Nitanju Bolade Casel. (Photo courtesy of Sweet Honey In The Rock).
NEWS FLASH #2: an interview and call-in segment with Sweet Honey's Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, who will leave the group in mid-May after 34 years to pursue other creative outlets, was aired on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" with host Neal Conan on April 29. To listen to Dr. Barnwell talk about her history with Sweet Honey and her future plans, just follow this LINK. Sweet Honey is currently auditioning for a new voice to join the quintet.
NEWS FLASH #3: an interview with Dr. Barnwell, originally scheduled to air on Friday, March 29, on "The Tavis Smiley Show," syndicated by Public Radio International, was broadcast on Friday, April 19. To listen in, please follow THIS LINK
With its roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties and its branches continually stretching to encompass new musical genres and creative challenges, the internationally acclaimed female African-American a cappella quintet SWEET HONEY IN THE ROCK has ventured into new territory on its new live 2-CD set on Appleseed, A Tribute – Live! Jazz at Lincoln Center, available now as hardcopies through our website and CDBaby.com, and from bricks-and-mortar stores and online (including digitally) as of February 26.
Seeking to honor songs previously recorded, performed, and in some cases written by an earlier generation of female African-American singers, the members of SWEET HONEY spent two years crafting a concert presentation that, for the first time, incorporated an instrumental trio to do justice to the jazz-oriented repertoire of Abbey Lincoln, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Odetta, and Miriam Makeba, among others. They performed two historic “Tribute” concerts in Rose Hall at the prestigious Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York in April 2011, the highlights of which comprise A Tribute – Live!
After performing several more “Tribute” shows last year, SWEET HONEY scheduled five additional “Tribute” concerts in late February and early March 2013, bridging Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March). Check their concert calendar here for “Tribute” concerts and the group’s “usual” kinetic and intoxicating performances.
CONGRATS TO TOM RUSH ON 50 YEARS OF PERFORMING!
Appleseed is delighted to congratulate Tom Rush on his first half-century of professional music-making, celebrated by an all-star concert in Boston on December 28, and eagerly looks forward to his next 50 years of creativity.
It’s been 50 years since Tom Rush appeared on the Boston/Cambridge music scene with a repertoire of folk and blues, a warm, inclusive voice, deft guitar-playing, a well-honed sense of humor, and a keen ear for choosing perfect songs by his more established predecessors and fellow “newbies” to cover. He was among the first to record songs by James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Jackson Browne prior to their own recordings, and has continually searched out well-suited materials from both well-known and obscure writers while blossoming as an original songwriter himself.
It’s been more than 20 years since Tom presented his one of his “Club 47” (named after Boston’s famous folk venue) star-studded shows in the city’s Symphony Hall featuring his talented friends, concerts that were sometimes broadcast by PBS and NPR and were cherished by listeners near and far.
On December 28h, many dreams were realized when Tom presented his first new Symphony Hall concert in decades with the aid of a fund-raising online Kickstarter campaign to bankroll the show. Along with his own set, Tom hosted such compatible musicians as fellow Appleseed artists Jonathan Edwards , David Bromberg (pinchhitting for Nanci Griffith, who was unable to attend), plus longtime friends David Buskin and Robin Batteau, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and relative newcomer Dom Flemons. Joining Tom’s backing band was his longtime accompanist Trevor Veitch, who hadn’t performed with Tom for years. Tom chose “Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm” from his early days to perform as an encore and dedicated it to the victims of Hurricane Sandy. The three-hour show was webcast and was a satisfying triumph for Rush and all involved.
For a more detailed account of the show that first appeared in the Boston Globe, please follow this link.
ANNE HILLS SALUTES TOM PAXTON, KIM AND REGGIE HARRIS REAFFIRM LIFE AND ACTIVISM ON NEW RELEASES!
The winter holiday season has already begun at Appleseed with the release of two new CDs celebrating the power of music and its practitioners.
Anne Hills, solo artist and one of folk music’s great collaborators, pays tribute to her friend, mentor, and recurrent recording and performing partner Tom Paxton with The Things I Notice Now: Anne Hills Sings the Songs of Tom Paxton, in honor of Tom’s 75th birthday on Halloween 2012. The CD contains Anne’s renditions of 12 Paxton originals, including the brand new “Redemption Road” (co-written with Geoff Bartley), and she’s joined by Tom on three duets. With some input from Tom, Anne chose “songs that feature his lesser-known, poetically beautiful writing” and take a long look at real life: lovers and families separated by economics or exhausted emotions, splintering communities, the passage of time, and the poor used as pawns in politics.
Resurrection Day, the seventh Appleseed CD by the husband and wife duo Kim and Reggie Harris, not only continues their dedication to songs of social change and political activism but also celebrates Reggie’s recovery from a life-threatening illness lasting 13 years. The one upside to his illness was that its cure – a liver transplant – inspired eight new original songs by Reggie reaffirming the sweetness of life and the need to make every moment count, personally and politically. There’s plenty of social commentary in the originals and cover versions, which include Phil Ochs’ “Do What I Have to Do” and the Depression-era standard “Hallelujah, I’m a Bum,” but also an underlying conviction that positive change is both vital and possible.
You can read (and hear) more about Reggie's uplifting medical victory in a January 2014 article in USA Today by following this link.
FOLK/ACTIVIST ICON PETE SEEGER, 93, SURVEYS PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE ON TWO NEW CDS!
Appleseed has started September with the release of two new recordings by Pete Seeger, America’s greatest living folk and topical songwriter and musical/political activist!!.
A More Perfect Union, which includes guest appearances by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Morello, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris, and Dar Williams, contains 14 fresh new songs that present Pete's and collaborator Lorre Wyatt's responses to recent political, economic and environmental issues alongside gentler appreciations of life’s good moments, meditations on the future, and exhortations to individual action. Pete Remembers Woody, a two-CD set, celebrates the centennial birthyear of Pete’s friend, quasi-mentor and sometime musical partner, the late Woody Guthrie, through Pete’s spoken, firsthand reminiscences as one of the last contemporaries of our country’s first great topical songwriter. Interspersed are renditions of Woody’s songs by Pete with Woody’s son Arlo, other Guthrie-influenced performers, and Woody himself (from a vintage recording).
A recent interview with Pete Seeger about his two new Appleseed releases was aired on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition," hosted by Scott Simon, and can be heard via this link.
You can also read Appleseed founder and president Jim Musselman's comments about his friendship with Seeger and Springsteen, the label's history and musical/philosophical/philanthropic philosophy, and a startling revelation about Jim's one-time back-up singer role for Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt by following this link to his recent interview in the Huffington Post.
Following consecutive Grammy Award-winning CDs on Appleseed, At 89 (2008) and Tomorrow’s Children (2010), Seeger had no specific recording plans until he was approached by an old friend, singer-songwriter Lorre Wyatt, about completing some songs the two had worked on before a stroke sidelined Wyatt for 15 years. New songs co-written by the duo inevitably sprouted, and sessions for the co-billed A More Perfect Union took place near Pete’s home in Beacon, N.Y. Augmenting local musicians including the CD's co-producers, guitarist-vocalist David Bernz and percussionist/engineer Jeff Haynes are vocal contributions from Bruce Springsteen (his third collaboration with Pete and sixth song recorded for Appleseed); former Rage Against the Machine guitar-shredder Tom Morello, also known as The Nightwatchman; outspoken musician/activist Steve Earle; Emmylou Harris, queen of all country-flavored singers; and Dar Williams, the extraordinary singer-songwriter who is active in many sociopolitical causes. Morello also plays lovely acoustic lead guitar on the heartwarming title song. On the CD’s opening song, “God’s Counting on Me . . . God’s Counting on You,” the passionate rasp of The Boss’s voice proclaims, “It’s time to turn things around/Trickle up, not trickle down,” a sentiment amplified on his latest CD, Wrecking Ball, which is rife with songs about economic injustice.
Here's a LINK to the story about the two new releases that appeared as a Billboard exclusive on August 1.
These two new Seeger CDs mark the 15th year the independent Appleseed label has been releasing Pete’s new and archival material, as well as three highly lauded collections of newly-recorded versions of Seeger-related songs performed by Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Joan Baez, Ani Difranco, Billy Bragg, and other great artists. It was at Appleseed president Jim Musselman’s urging that Bruce originally recorded the song “We Shall Overcome” for the label’s Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. 1 (1998). The recording also planted the seed for Springsteen’s 2006 We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions CD and subsequent tours, helping to bring Pete’s music to new generations.
Seeger has been the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Award, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, a Lifetime Legends medal from the Library of Congress, and induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
SPRINGSTEEN'S “WE SHALL OVERCOME” REMAINS A POWERFUL SONG FOR HOPE AND HEALING
It’s been 15 years since Bruce Springsteen first recorded the song “We Shall Overcome” after Appleseed president Jim Musselman gave Bruce a tape of Pete Seeger's music and a request for him to choose a song, specifically "We Shall Overcome," to record for Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger, the first of Appleseed’s three widely praised tributes to folk/activist icon Seeger.
On July 22 of this year, Bruce Springsteen performed “We Shall Overcome” in front of 50,000 people at a memorial concert in Oslo, Norway, honoring the memory of the 77 Norwegians killed in Anders Breivik’s bombing and shooting rampage a year earlier.
To see Bruce and “Little Steven” Van Zandt’s performance at the memorial concert, follow this LINK.
This is not the first time a Springsteen rendition of the song has been employed to give strength and comfort after tragic events. Bruce’s version of the song was used in national TV newscasts in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist airplane hijackings and attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. The events of 9/11 were, sadly, not the first tragedy to inspire use of Bruce’s solemn, heartfelt recording; it was also played frequently as part of the healing process by those who lost family and friends in the April 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. More recently, Bruce performed the song on the nationally televised “Hope for Haiti” benefit concert in January 2010.
Bruce has recorded six tracks to date for Appleseed projects. His most recent contribution can soon be heard on our late September 2012 release A More Perfect Union, a collaboration between Pete Seeger and fellow songwriter Lorre Wyatt that includes guest vocals by Springsteen (on “God’s Counting on Me . . . God’s Counting on You”), Steve Earle, Tom Morello, Emmylou Harris, and Dar Williams.
To read more about the Springsteen/Seeger/Appleseed connection, please follow this LINK
PEGGY SEEGER SAYS GOODBYE TO U.S. WITH NEW LIVE CD
In mid-April of this year, Peggy Seeger wrapped up her month-long “farewell to North America” tour, leaving behind not only satisfied audiences but also a new live CD as a souvenir for those who saw her perform and those unlucky enough to have missed her. (It’s not her age – late 70s – that is curtailing tours too far from her adopted UK home -- “The reason is the airlines, chiefly . . . and the [driving] distances between shows,” she told the Sydney Morning Post.)
Live, recorded at a mostly solo 2010 benefit performance in New Zealand, is only the second in-concert release by one of “the 20th Century’s most important folk musicians: a major force in popularizing Southern mountain music; a giant in the British song revival…and a songwriter whose anthems predicted the feminist movement” (Boston Globe). The CD’s 23 tracks capture the many strengths of Peggy’s half-decade-plus career: her clear, distinctive voice and skills on guitar, piano and banjo, her expertise as a convincing interpreter of traditional folk songs, her acute sociopolitical songwriting, and her alternately tart, moving, and wickedly funny spoken interludes and poems. According to Blogcritics.org, “It is her wry comments and poetry that connect the songs and give the concert a warm and personal appeal that reflect her views and character best.”
Peggy’s only previous live CD is Three Score and Ten, a 2-CD recording of Peggy’s star-studded 70th birthday party, held on stage in London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2005. Taking part in the musical celebration were her half-brother, the international folk/activism icon Pete Seeger, and brother Mike (solo artist, old-time music expert and New Lost City Ramblers co-founder, now deceased) in one of their rare appearances together and the first-ever recording of all three together. Also joining the party were Peggy’s children, partner Irene Pyper-Scott (also present on Live), the legendary folksinger and multi-instrumentalist Martin Carthy, his wife and performance partner Norma Waterson, their daughter, singer/fiddler Eliza Carthy, and contemporary singer/songwriter/activist Billy Bragg.
Peggy’s most recent studio CD is Fly Down Little Bird, released last year by Appleseed, a duet album recorded with brother Mike shortly before his untimely passing in 2009.
DONOVAN INDUCTED INTO ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME!
Appleseed is delighted to congratulate that ageless “Sunshine Superman,” Donovan, on his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 14.
In the ceremony held in Cleveland's Public Hall, fellow R 'n' R Hall of Famer John Mellencamp inducted Donovan with remarks describing him as "one of the original originals." Mellencamp help up a copy of Donovan's Fairy Tale album he bought as a seventh grader in 1965 and exclaimed, "I wasn't just listening to Donovan, I was living Donovan. He was my inspiration."
Instead of reading from prepared notes, Donovan recited a poem inspired by his induction that concluded “Like the silence of the sea, I thank you for this bright green laurel resting now upon my brow, I thank you goddess and thank you innocence and I thank my fellow artist all," before performing three of his biggest hits, "Sunshine Superman," "Season of the Witch" and "Catch the Wind," with Mellencamp sharing vocals
During a four-decade-plus career in which he’s blended folk, pop, psychedelia, world music and jazz, the Scottish singer-songwriter has kept his music unique and magical and the original “peace, love and flowers” ideals of the Sixties alive. His most recent CD, Beat Café, released by Appleseed in 2004, was described by Uncut magazine as “a warm evocation of the bohemian world of bebop, poetry, berets and coffee houses,” while Dirty Linen called it “his best album in decades.” Donovan also recorded exclusive versions of the anti-war classic (written by fellow Appleseed artist Buffy Sainte-Marie) "The Universal Soldier" for our label's 2007 Sowing the Seeds - The 10th Anniversary set, and Pete Seeger's "My Rainbow Race," which appears on our award-winning Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. 1.
Artists become eligible for the induction 25 years after the release of their first record. Criteria include the influence and significance of the artists' contributions to the development and perpetuation of rock and roll.