A Stubborn, Defiant, and Nasty Optimism

In all honesty, I do make an effort to minimize my posting frequency about this particular person, but he’s just too important to avoid sometimes.  In celebration of Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday last Sunday, a star-studded cast of musicians participated in the The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders at Madison Square Garden. The concert was thrown as a benefit to raise awareness for Seeger’s Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, which strives to preserve and protect the Hudson River.

The legendary folk singer and political activist has advocated social change for over seven decades, and has been a huge source of inspiration for many of the influential artists we all know today.  The concert included the likes of Joan Baez, Ben Harper, Ani DiFranco, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, John Mellencamp, Eddie Vedder, Steve Earle, and several others. Obviously in my opinion, the most noteworthy participant was Mr. Springsteen.

Bruce’s ties with Pete go back.  In 2006, Springsteen released the first covers album of his career, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. The album came about after Bruce rediscovered a set of recordings he made in 1997 for a tribute album called Where Have All the Flowers Gone: The Songs of Pete Seeger.  Jazzed about the covers he found (most notably “We Shall Overcome”), Bruce decided to cut a whole album of folk tunes popularized by the famous folkster.  I strongly encourage checking out said album.  The E Street Band still closes each show with “American Land” two tours later.

Earlier this year, Seeger and Springsteen led the massive inaugural concert crowd in a “This Land is Your Land” sing-a-long held at the Lincoln Memorial.  This shared moment is the source of inspiration for the following outstanding speech Bruce gave before his performance at Pete’s 90th Birthday Bash this past weekend.  I suggest watching in HQ for much better clearness:

In case I’ve somehow failed to already adequately explain, this speech epitomizes why I love Bruce Springsteen.  Like Pete, Bruce uses his music as a catalyst for a bigger cause.  We need more younger musicians in the popular mainstream doing the same.

Having some artists in it for the “sex, drugs, and rock n roll” is fine and fun to watch at times, but we’re lacking new famous champions with higher ideals in my opinion (will.i.am does not and will never count). Several artists have that potential and are currently working non-stop in the smaller bars and clubs across America; it’ll just be a matter of the general public being ready to listen (and turning off American Idol).


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