Archive for August 2009

A Walk Around Clifftop 2009

Monday, August 24th, 2009

I went down to the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Festival just a couple of weeks ago with my band The Dust Busters. We had a great time, met and played with a million different people and played a set on Saturday afternoon with our friends John Cohen and Tracy Schwarz of the New Lost City Ramblers.  The old-time music never stops at Camp Washington-Carver in Clifftop, West Virginia, so about midnight on Saturday I broke out my field recording device and made a round of the different campsite jam sessions that were in full swing.

This broadcast is a just a straight 45 minute recording of my midnight wanderings through the grounds of Clifftop.  I walked from one great group of musicians to the next in rapid succession.  Each campsite had its own huddle of musicians playing fiddles, banjos, guitars, doghouse basses, harmonicas and singing away at the old-time tunes- no matter which direction I turned, it was hard to go wrong!
Jammin' by blueathena7.

Mike Seeger (1933-2009)

Sunday, August 9th, 2009

[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

Mike Seeger. Photo by Ron Pen

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.

Links: (more…)