At 89 Pete Seeger Ap­ple­seed/ Shock

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - Mahir Ali

IT seems to make sense when Pete Seeger plunges into False From True : ‘‘ When my songs turn to ashes on my tongue/ When I look in the mir­ror and see I’m no longer young’’. It’s only when he gets to the line ‘‘ No song I can sing will make Gov­er­nor Wal­lace change his mind’’ that you re­alise th­ese verses date back 40 years, when Seeger was al­ready ven­er­ated as the folk move­ment’s fa­ther fig­ure. Now in his 90th year, he con­tin­ues to sing out, al­beit in­creas­ingly with the aid of friends, rel­a­tives and Hud­son Val­ley com­mu­nity choirs. Many of them fea­ture on this disc, which is closer to a field record­ing than a stu­dio al­bum. The 33 songs, in­stru­men­tal frag­ments, anec­dotes and hom­i­lies, old and new, strad­dle the breadth of Seeger’s con­cerns, from war to en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion, mak­ing up an in­com­plete but com­pelling por­trait of an ex­traor­di­nary Amer­i­can mu­si­cian who, hav­ing lived through most of the 20th cen­tury, gazes for­ward at the 22nd with an af­fect­ing mix­ture of hope and trep­i­da­tion.

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