J. D. Woods, a professor in the Art Department here at Grace and an acoustic musician, is one my favorite colleagues and he often gets asked to perform with his guitar or banjo. I can easily see Pete Seeger’s influence on his life. Yesterday morning, I found the following note from him in my inbox:
Found out that Pete Seeger (American folk-singer and activist) died yesterday [Monday] morning at age 94. What a legend, what a hole he’s going to leave in our culture. He made this statement on a recent interview, “I think the world is gonna be saved by millions of small things. Too many things can go wrong when they get big.” Was he a prophet or what?!
He traveled the boxcars with Woody Guthrie, wrote and co-wrote many, many tunes. Here’s a handful that you will probably remember:
If I Had A Hammer
Turn, Turn, Turn
Where Have All the Flowers Gone
He was a life-long champion of the common man – the little guy, who didn’t have the money to protect his own interests if they became threatened by big money and big politics. He set the example and I love him for it!
We’ll miss ya Pete…
Chris adds: If you want to learn more about Pete Seeger, there are already dozens of fine eulogies published, such as Jack Hamilton’s in Slate. But most telling are the tributes from fellow musicians. See Emmylou Harris’ story of writing a six-page letter to Seeger at age 16, worrying that her life was too sheltered to inspire good art, and receiving a kind response from the folk legend. Or watch Bruce Springsteen wish Seeger a happy 90th birthday back in 2009: