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L o r r e ...W y a t t


pete seeger

Lorre Wyatt

It took a long-stilled voice from the past to inspire the recording of Pete Seeger & Lorre Wyatt’s newly released A More Perfect Union. After his 2010 Grammy-winning Tomorrow’s Children release, Pete didn’t have another recording in mind. But things soon took an unforeseen turn: An on-going collaboration with a long-time friend began to yield remarkable fruit. In 1996, Lorre Wyatt had suffered a debilitating stroke that robbed him of his ability to sing and play guitar. But after fifteen years of medical treatment, therapy, and hard work, Lorre was back on his musical feet again.

Wyatt grew up in a family of amateur musicians for whom weekends were a time to sing. Even “the dog howled along,” he says. “We sounded like a jugless band who’d been hitting the jug.” Wyatt started learning the violin at age eight, and as a young teen took up the saxophone. A couple of years later he was playing guitar and banjo as a member of a high school singing group, The Millburnaires, and also performing at social gatherings and summer camps.

When old enough to play professionally, Wyatt performed hither and yon. “When I was younger, my goal was to avoid the spotlight, and I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and expectations.” Even so, Wyatt’s abilities as a songwriter and performer established him as a popular figure on the folk circuit up until his stroke in the mid-’90s.

Lorre and Pete’s personal and creative friendship stretches back more than forty years, when they met at various anti-war and civil rights gatherings. They initially performed together at early events for the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and began co-writing songs in 1973. Lorre was introduced to Pete’s music as a teenager through some borrowed LPs. “Hearing Pete Seeger & Sonny Terry at Carnegie Hall was the moment the musical doors swung open for me. I was intrigued with Pete’s ability to infuse old songs with new meaning,” recalls Wyatt.

Years later, after Lorre’s stroke, the two collaborated occasionally, writing in person as well as by phone. By 2010, the two decided it was time to get together for some extended songwriting sessions at Pete’s place. Something was different now than before – a new sense of urgency and energy, a shifting of gears. When Pete introduced “God’s Counting on Me... God’s Counting on You,” at a few live appearances, it elicited passionate audience – and internet – response, prompting Pete to quip “I think we wrought better than we thought!”

Pete excitedly suggested going into the studio and recording a new CD showcasing these new songs. During the sessions, they also decided to include Wyatt’s best-known composition, “Somos el Barco/We Are the Boat,” previously recorded by Seeger, Holly Near, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Paul & Mary, and others, along with a new version of their co-written “Wonderful Friends,” which had appeared on Pete’s 2008 Grammy-winning At 89 CD.

Lorre Wyatt is back, writing, singing and recording traditional songs and new compositions. Indeed, these two wonderful friends, filled with new-found creative vim and vigor, have proven that old apples can still make mighty fine sauce.




Pete Seeger & Lorre Wyatt: A More Perfect Union