Pete Seeger was a family favorite when I was little. My two sisters and I, as well as our parents, enjoyed his classic hits, learning them by heart. This Land is Your Land was my personal favorite, although written by Woody Guthrie. Imagine my delight when I was inspired to create an updated version for this here millenium. At the time the original song came out, it was groundbreaking work. But it was about unifying the United States. I felt Pete and Arlo’s s spirit knocking on the door of my heart, asking me to do a re-write to include the whole earth. And so I did.
Below is a video of me singing it, and would welcome your feedback, how it landed for you, suggestions for improvements, etc.
But first, I’d like to share a touching moment back in 2006 when Pete Seeger left me a personal message on an answering machine.
He was living in upstate NY in a town called Newtown. I was in town for a concert, and my organizer said she was friends with Pete, and had invited him to the concert. She told me that he still sings on street-corners in town, just for the joy of it. She then beckoned me to her phone system and said, “Listen to this!”
I heard Pete’s voice, so kind and gentle: “Thanks so much for the invite. I would have loved to come, but I’ve been feeling under the weather. Scott, if you are listening to this, go out and knock ’em dead. Or alive. Have fun. Hope to see you another time you come passing through.”
There was not an ounce of ‘celebrity’ in his communication. He was so down to earth. Just like this song.