[Mike Seeger at the Newport Folk Festival 1966]
With sadness we mark the passing of one of the real true greats of American music in the last half century. Mike Seeger was a master of the banjo, guitar, fiddle, autoharp, mouth harp, jew’s harp, quills, mandolin and essentially any instrument he laid his hands on as well as being a great singer. He died at his home in Virginia on Friday after a long battle with cancer, he was 75.
I’m writing from the road, out on tour with my old-time string band. We’re here in Cincinatti, OH today, listening to Mike’s “Second Annual Farewell Reunion” album, a wonderful record he did with a number of friends back in 1973 and remembering this man who brought us so much amazing music both as a member of the New Lost City Ramblers, a solo performer and as a promoter/field worker. Mike Seeger’s influence on American music is untold. He was an inspiration to nearly everyone involved in the field of traditional music in this country for the past 50 years and consistently brought to light amazing songs, musicians, musical styles and histories which we might otherwise never have heard about. Although he had cancer for a number of years his final passing was quick and he left the world still busy performing and documenting the music that he loved.
I’m reposting here an interview I did with Mike Seeger back in 2003 and first posted on DHR back in 2008. It was my first real radio interview! Also included (the 2nd play button) is a recording of the live set that Mike played when I booked him at the Oberlin College Folk Festival in 2003. Below are links to a lot more information about Mike Seeger and his work.
Here is a link to a nice obituary and rememberance done by Mike’s friend and fellow musician Paul Brown for NPR
Obit from Mike’s local newspaper
Reposted from 2008:
This week I’ll be drawing from my “archives” for an interview with Mike Seeger, multi-instrumentalist, field-recordist, record producer and 1/3 of the New Lost City Ramblers. This interview is from a tape of one of my old radio shows from college. It was conducted in May 0f 2003 at WOBC, the radio station of Oberlin College in Ohio. This was my first real radio interview! I had booked Mike to come and play at the Oberlin Folk Festival and while in town he appeared on the weekly radio show I hosted with my friend Jacob Groopman. We talk about his parents Ruth Crawford and Charles Seeger, Elizabeth Cotton, Dock Boggs, Josh Thomas, Henry Thomas, Alan Lomax, the current state of folk music and more, and Mike plays some gourd banjo and jaw harp live on the air.
Included above are the interview with Mike, and a recording of his appearance at the Oberlin College Folk Festival, May 2003.
Special thanks to Tom Reid of Oberlin College for providing the live recording of Mike Seeger at the Oberlin Folk Festival.