Like many Americans, I spent much of yesterday thinking about Pete Seeger on the news of his passing. I listened to his songs, watched YouTube performances, and had an NPR "driveway moment" listening to Terry Gross' 1985 interview with the legendary folksinger who has inspired so many, including me.
I wrote a letter to Pete Seeger back in August 2013 asking for his advice about how to spread the message of making music to more people, and included a printout of my "20 Jam Tips" for making music with friends.
To my astonishment and delight, yesterday, the day after his passing, Pete Seeger's response came back. His letter was written in the margins of mine and signed "Pete" with his iconic hand-drawn banjo.
Here's what he wrote:
Dear Kim - I've read this article several times. I think your article on jamming is wonderful and should be printed, not just in Sing Out, but in other magazines as well and issued as a lovely pamphlet, on good paper, with good drawings on the cover.
But I'm now 94 and can't help much. My health is not good and I'm being cared for by my daughter Tinya. You stay well, keep on.
94-year-old Pete (with banjo drawing) Jan. 2014After sharing this news with a number of friends, it spread to Jason Verlinde, who wrote this wonderful story for Fretboard Journal, including some photos of the letter. Rachel Leibrock has a nice writeup too in the Sacramento News and Review.
Here is a closeup scan for a closer look:
It appears I've got some pamphlet printing to get to! Rest in peace Pete Seeger, and thanks for teaching us how to sing along.