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Pete Seeger is still hammering away at 89

October 02, 2008|From the Associated Press

At 89, folk music legend Pete Seeger still has more to say.

His latest release, aptly titled "At 89," is Seeger's first record of new material in five years and by Seeger's own account it will be his last.

He doesn't expect to be playing many more concerts, either.

"My brain is definitely, definitely going," Seeger says at one point out of frustration during a phone interview from his Hudson Valley home in Beacon, N.Y. He often stops midway through a story, apologizing for not being able to remember the rest of it.

Even so, both over the phone and on the new record, Seeger sounds strong and full of life. He still manages to chop trees and shovel gravel at his home in the woods that he shares with his wife of 65 years, Toshi. Before coming to the phone, he has to be summoned from the barn where he's repairing a washing machine.

Seeger is happy to talk about everything from the new swimming pool in town and folk music history to his latest record.

A number of friends, singers and musicians from Seeger's beloved Hudson River Valley join him on "At 89," a mixture of old and new songs. He turns over vocal duties on several songs, but contributes on nearly every track by playing guitar or banjo.

Seeger says he hopes those who listen to the record will walk away with a message of hope.

"The human race is still here, and if we use the brains God gave us, we just may still be here in 100 years," he says.

Seeger is committed to playing a handful of shows this fall including the annual Seeger and Guthrie Thanksgiving Concert on Nov. 29 at Carnegie Hall. He says he doesn't anticipate playing many more.

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