Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sandy Paton RIP

From The Folk-Legacy Site

In memory of Charles Alexander (Sandy) Paton, who passed from this life,
July 26, 2009 at 6:32 pm, at the age of 80

Folk-Legacy Records founder Sandy Paton passed away on Sunday July 26 around 6:30pm. He had been hospitalized the last few days after becoming extremely fatigued. Sandy had been in poor health in recent years, suffering from emphysema which required that he was constantly connected to oxygen. About a month ago, Sandy & Caroline’s grandson died tragically – drowning in a river in Connecticut. Friends have said that Sandy took the loss extremely hard.

Sandy, with his wife Caroline and the late Lee Haggerty, founded Folk-Legacy Records as an independent recording company specializing in traditional and contemporary folk music of the English-speaking world in 1961. Over the 48 years Folk-Legacy has existed, they have produced over 120 recordings with Sandy doing the actual recording and taking cover photographs.

Sandy was a terrific singer in his own right, as well. He and Caroline were designated as the Official Connecticut State Troubadours for 1993-1994.

Sing Out! editor Mark Moss adds: “In a world where meeting your “idols” rarely works out very well, Sandy Paton was an inspiration. His love, dedication and vision for traditional music was unwavering … but he was never strident, pushy or rude about his impressive knowledge. This was a guy who was all about loving the music and wanting to share his love for the songs and singers. And each Folk-Legacy release exuded that passion. Once I “met” my first Folk-Legacy release (the original Golden Ring recording), I was hooked … and am proud to own almost every release from the label. Hardly “hi tech,” but the music Sandy captured, made and shared was the real thing in the truest sense of the words. It was an honor to have known him. My heart was already breaking for the family (after the loss of his grandson Kaelan in June) … I can’t imagine the pain the family is feeling now. A sad, sad day.”

Memorial service Oct 10. Check the Folk-Legacy site for details

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mike Seeger= NYTimes Obit

Mike Seeger, Singer and Music Historian, Dies at 75

Mike Seeger, a singer and multi-instrumentalist who played an important role in the folk revival of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Friday at his home in Lexington, Va. He was 75.

The cause was multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, said his wife, Alexia Smith.

Although a quieter voice on the national stage than his politically outspoken, older half-brother, Pete, Mike Seeger was a significant force in spreading the music of preindustrial America during an increasingly consumerist era. In 1958 he helped found the New Lost City Ramblers, whose repertory came from the 1920s and ’30s, and in his career he recorded or produced dozens of albums of what he called the “true vine” of American music, the mix of British and African traditions and topical storytelling that took root in the South.

Mr. Seeger’s dedication had a strong effect on the young Bob Dylan, who wrote fondly of him in his 2004 memoir, “Chronicles: Volume One.” Although only eight years his junior, Mr. Dylan called Mr. Seeger a father figure — for helping the under-age Mr. Dylan with his paperwork — and rhapsodized about him as the embodiment of a folk-star persona.

“Mike was unprecedented,” Mr. Dylan wrote, adding: “As for being a folk musician, he was the supreme archetype. He could push a stake through Dracula’s black heart. He was the romantic, egalitarian and revolutionary type all at once.”

But Mr. Seeger made his mark less as a star than as a careful, steady student of his beloved Southern music. He was born in New York to a prominent musical family. His father, Charles Seeger, was a well-known ethnomusicologist, and his mother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, a composer and folk-song collector. Besides Pete, Mr. Seeger’s sister Peggy also became a noted singer.

The intellectual pursuit of folk music was part of Mike Seeger’s life from an early age. At 5 he made a recording of the old British folk ballad “Barbara Allen,” his wife said in an interview on Sunday.

Mr. Seeger played banjo, guitar, autoharp and other instruments, which he learned from old records and in some cases from the musicians who played on them. A dogged researcher, he sought out musicians who had been lost for decades and introduced them to an eager (and young) new audience. One was Dock Boggs, a banjo player from western Virginia whose records were prized by folklorists. Mr. Seeger brought him to the American Folk Festival in Asheville, N.C., in 1963.

Mr. Seeger’s most recent album was “Early Southern Guitar Sounds” (Smithsonian Folkways), in 2007, and he played autoharp on Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Grammy Award-winning album “Raising Sand” (Rounder), also released in 2007. In his career Mr. Seeger was nominated for six Grammys.

In addition to his wife, his half-brother Pete, of Beacon, N.Y., and his sister Peggy, of Boston, Mr. Seeger is survived by three sons, Kim, of Tivoli, N.Y., Chris, of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and Jeremy, of Belmont, Mass.; four stepchildren, Cory Foster of Ithaca, N.Y., Jenny Foster of Rockville, Md., Joel Foster of Silver Spring, Md., and Jesse Foster of Washington; another sister, Barbara Perfect of Henderson, Nev.; another half-brother, John Seeger of Bridgewater, Conn.; and 13 grandchildren and step-grandchildren.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Mike Seeger R.I.P.

Mike Seeger and Alexia Smith

Folk Musician And Traditional Roots Music Preservationist Mike Seeger Dies
Battle With Cancer Ended Friday Evening, August 7th
By Patte Wood
Staff Reporter

Lexington, VA (August 8, 2009) - Alexia Smith, wife of folklorist and roots music preservationist Mike Seeger, has informed the Rockbridge Community that Mike died peacefully at his home on Enfield Road the evening of August 7th about 9 p.m. Seeger was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and decided to forego further treatment and entered hospice care. He was surrounded by family and friends during his last days as he wished. Seeger was 75 years old. According to the family, further information about arrangements will be forthcoming on Monday, August 10th.

Seeger contributed his musical talent and knowledge of Southern traditional roots music to the community in Rockbridge since moving here about 20 years ago. Throughout his career and while living in Rockbridge he pursued many projects to preserve traditional southern roots music and dance. Most notable are his recordings of roots music for the Smithsonian with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Locally, he was the main impetus in the creation The Rockbridge Mountain Music and Dance Festival, a music festival by and for musicians in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, in Rockbridge Countyin 1986 and encouraged Bruce Clark to found Clark's Ole Time Music Center, also in Rockbridge County. Seeger also performed locally at festivals and events, sharing his talent and knowledge of Southern roots music with the community.

Word about his death has quickly spread throughout the bluegrass and roots music community and been posted on various roots and bluegrass music websites. A compilation of his recordings and achievements can be found on the NPR website at

The following obituary, written by Bob Cherry on August 8, 2009, is from CYBERGRASS The Internet Bluegrass Music News Magazine

"Mike Seeger lost his battle with cancer last night, August 7, 2009. Back on Thursday, July 30, Mary Katherine Adlin at Folklore Productions informed us that Mike Seeger, one of the founding members of the New Lost City Ramblers, and the half-brother of folk singer Pete Seeger, had been battling leukemia for several years; just recently he was diagnosed with a new and very aggressive form of cancer, called multiple myeloma. In the same forthright way that he has lived his life, he made the decision to discontinue treatment and enter hospice care. Last night, August 7, his battle ended. Mike died in hospice care at his home in Virginia, surrounded by the loving care of his wife, his sons and his sister. He was at peace and not in pain.

"Just a few days ago, we wrote about The New Lost City Ramblers DVD video. This is sad news to follow that happy release announcement. Mike Seeger and The New Lost City Ramblers captured the essence of old music from early 78 records and spend decades performing the traditional music in the traditional way thus preserving it for many generations.

"During the '60s folk movement, Seeger and the New Lost City Ramblers were one of the most influential bands going. Scores of new bands picked up on what they were doing and pushed the music into the public's eye. Seeger was both a musician and a historian devoted to preserving the music he loved.

"Seeger was a folk musician who was also accomplished on multiple instruments. He performed playing the fiddle, banjo, mandolin, dobro, and other instruments. Seeger's love for the old time music resulted in a half dozen Grammy® nominations, four NEA grants and numerous other awards.

"Just as he set his own path musically, he chose his own path for his final journey as well. May God be with him.

"Mike is survived by his wife Alexia. Condolences may be sent to:

Folklore Productions

1671 Appian Way

Santa Monica, CA 90401"

A performance by Mike Seeger at The Kennedy Center can be seen at

Further information will be forthcoming in The Rockbridge Weekly as it becomes available.

Rockbridge Weekly & Alleghany Journal Newsline (9 August 2009)