Pete Seeger’s 1996 release “Pete” was the now-legendary musician’s first album to win a Grammy. Co-produced by seven-time Grammy winner Paul Winter, “Pete” is regarded by many as the last great album from an American icon who shares a place in our history with the likes of Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, and Woody Guthrie. In 2016, a fully remastered edition of “Pete,” partnered with a new Living Music Festival DVD featuring three previously unreleased and historic videos of Pete Seeger in performance will be released on June 17, 2016 via Paul Winter’s Living Music label.
Playing banjo and 12-string guitar in his own distinctive style, Pete Seeger sings with great bravado, on all 18 tracks, which include many of his timeless classics, such as “My Rainbow Race,” “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine,” “Of Time and Rivers Flowing,” and “Well May the World Go.” Paul Winter says of his long-time friend and mentor, “I think of this album as a ‘Pete Seeger primer’ for the younger generations who are not yet familiar with his music and as a ‘Grand Reunion with Pete’ for the countless number of folks who grew up on Pete Seeger and hadn’t heard from him in years. I wanted for a long time to produce this album, simply because I love Pete’s music, and by the term ‘music’ I mean to include his singing, his songs, his stories, his great instrumental playing, his passion, his humor, and his kindness.”
In June of 1982, Paul Winter invited Pete Seeger to headline the Living Music Festival at the Mohawk Mountain Ski Area in Cornwall, Connecticut. This setting was a grass-roots context where Pete Seeger felt most at home and filmmaker Phil Garvin captured the event with a three-camera video crew; the tapes then gathered dust for 33 years. A second film documents an old-time musical picnic, playfully christened the “Pete-nic,” with Pete Seeger and many of the choral singers who collaborated with him on the “Pete” album. This event took place in 1997 at Paul Winter’s farm, where the album had been recorded. A third short film, by videographer Dan Hofmann, captures a rare performance by Pete Seeger, who at age 85 came to Goshen, Connecticut in March 2005, to sing at a banquet hosted by the Harriet Beecher Stowe Society honoring the 40th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday,” the 1965 Pettus Bridge March in Selma, Alabama. Pete had received a telegram from Dr. Martin Luther King inviting him to come to that march, and he and his wife Toshi had traveled to Alabama to march for three days. Recalling those historic days, Pete Seeger sang his song “Take It from Dr. King” at the Goshen event.
Although Pete Seegar passed away in 2014 his music lives on. The “Pete-Pak” can be found on the online store of Paul Winter’s website. To learn more, see here.