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True Vine

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Album Review

Mike Seeger must be so happy. His voice has become weathered and his skill at the banjo now seems to be an extension of himself. In essence, he has become one of the venerable old folkies whom he has celebrated and idolized for his entire life. His 2003 release, True Vine on Smithsonian\Folkways Recordings, showcases his his passion for keeping the old traditions alive with a broad collection of folk songs and ballads. His honest playing and rough-hewn vocals could have come straight from Dock Boggs or Roscoe Holcomb, and on this recording he seems to have finally internalized all of the academic knowledge of traditional folk music, allowing it to flow from his heart, not from his brain. The extensive liner notes do much to illustrate the back stories of the songs and their sources, from the forlorn fiddle tunes to the whooping panpipe hollers. Although Seeger may not have been born in the Appalachian hills, he certainly grew up there, and True Vine may prove to be his strongest and most treasured recording.


Born: 15 August 1933 in New York, NY

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Born into one of the first families of American folk music, it was probably inevitable that Mike Seeger would become a musician and folklorist. His father and mother, Charles and Ruth Crawford Seeger, assisted John and Alan Lomax at the Archive of Folk Song in the Library of Congress. Mike's half-brother, Pete Seeger, performed in both the Almanac Singers and the Weavers, while his sister Peggy Seeger was highly regarded in traditional music circles. There was little surprise, then, when Mike Seeger,...
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