Pete Seeger's Session
A Beliefnet interview with the great folk singer on God, religion, and whether music can change the world.
Pete Seeger, America's best-loved folk singer, has lived long enough to go from being jailed and blacklisted in the 1950s for his political beliefs to receiving Kennedy Center honors and induction into theRock and Roll Hall of Fame
in the '90s. His message-filled songs ("Turn, Turn, Turn," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy," "If I Had a Hammer," among hundreds of others) have been a fixture of every progressive social movement, from labor and civil rights to peace and environmentalism. Now 88, Seeger lives on a mountain in upstate New York where he chops his own firewood and takes part in the Beacon Sloop Club, a branch of theClearwater organization
he spearheaded in 1969 with the aim of cleaning up the Hudson River. Though in a Beliefnet phone interview he occasionally spoke of a failing memory and a worn-out voice, he was eloquent as he defined his life's purpose: "trying to raise people's spirits" and "urging all religions to tolerate talking with each other."