“Sowing the Seeds: The Tenth Anniversary makes a solid argument that folk and folk-derived music is alive and well in the 21st century, and more than that, the music makes for a fine celebration.”
– All Music Guide
“This handsome collection is split across two discs: the first with a strong political bent, the second to explore the wider human issues. If this still sounds earnest, the beauty of this record is its subtlety. . . . In keeping the folk fires bruning, Appleseed does it with vim, vision and a heap of imagination. (4 stars, featured Americana CD).” – Uncut
Established in 1997 to “explore the roots and branches of folk and world music and sow the seeds of social justice through music,” Appleseed Recordings has lived up to its up to its intentions. The independent, internationally distributed label has released 85 CDs so far that present new music by folk giants such as Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Donovan, David Bromberg, Al Stewart and Eric Andersen, ascendant talents like The Kennedys, Tim Eriksen, and Lizzie West, and has attracted guest artists Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Judy Collins, and many more.
Sowing the Seeds – The 10th Anniversary is Appleseed’s first sampler and captures many of the label’s highlights, as well as nine new tracks recorded specifically for this birthday celebration. The 2-CD set has been split into two “themed” discs of new and old songs by a veritable Who’s Who of socially aware musicians.
Disc 1, “And Justice for All,” features politically charged songs that were among the first to confront the Iraq War and the Bush Administration, as well as addressing economic hard times, the environment, and other sociopolitical issues. There are classics from our catalogue like Pete Seeger’s controversial update of his Vietnam-era “Bring Them Home (If You Love Your Uncle Sam)” with guests Billy Bragg, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, and Anne Hills, 9/11 meditations “The Bravest” by Tom Paxton and “19 Miles to Baghdad” by Lizzie West (a recent “Democracy Now” radio/TV favorite), Jackson Browne & Joan Baez’s “Guantanamera,” and Paxton/Hills’“There Goes the Mountain.” New songs here include the first collaboration between Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger on Springsteen’s haunting “Ghost of Tom Joad” (ironically following Bruce’s recent spate of Seeger-related CDs), Ani DiFranco’s blistering take on Seeger’s “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” Donovan’s re-recording of his 1965 hit, “Universal Soldier,” and four new Pete Seeger tracks, including the hilarious “Ross Perot (George Bush) Guide to Embarrassing Questions” and solemn “Walking Down Death Row.”
Sowing’s second disc, “Love Hope and Appleseed,” presents a somewhat broader selection of themes and styles. The CD features songs of optimism, perseverance and meditations on love. There’s folk-rock from both sides of the Atlantic, including Al Stewart’s “Gina on the Kings Road,” Donovan’s mystical “Yin My Yang,” The Kennedys’ effervescent “Namaste” and John Stewart’s coulda-beeen-a-hit “Baby, It’s You.” There’s traditional acoustic folk from ex-Byrds leader and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Roger McGuinn, with guest Pete Seeger, on “Dink’s Song,” the title track from David Bromberg’s massively popular new CD of solo folk-blues, “Try Me One More Time,” and Tim Eriksen’s spooky but uplifting “Leave Your Light On.” Other artists include Eric Andersen with guest Lou Reed on the chugging acoustic rocker “You Can’t Relive the Past,” Judy Collins, Pat Humphries (her classic “Swimming to the Other Side”), Dick Gaughan, Tommy Sands and Vedran Smailovic, and more.