Posts Tagged ‘The Byrds’

Pete SeegerPete Seeger died yesterday at the age of 94.  He had a pretty remarkable life, using the power of music as a hammer to pound against the powers of social injustice.  The thing that I admire most is his always evident conviction to whatever cause he was devoted.  For as gentle and jovial a man as he appeared to be, there was no wishy-washiness in Pete Seeger.  He always spoke the truth to power on the most pressing matters of the day– the labor movement, civil rights, the Viet Nam war and the environment.

Of course, anyone with such strong and visible views, wil have some controversy surrounding him and Seeger was no different.  He was blacklisted in the 1950’s for his early affiliation with Communism and his slowness to finally condemn Stalin followed him through the years.  But, to his credit, he did own up to his actions and admit mistakes when he felt they were made.  Probably more so than most of those in power would be willing to admit.

Of course, the music is the legacy of Pete Seeger.  Songs like If I Had a Hammer , Where Have All the Flowers Gone?  and Turn! Turn! Turn! have  all have been covered innumerable times, becoming so ingrained in the American songbook that it seems hard to believe that they weren’t written even longer ago than they were.  Well,  the lyrics of  Turn! Turn! Turn! were a bit earlier as they use the words from Ecclesiastes in the Bible.  I grew up with a single of the Byrds’ version of  Turn! Turn! Turn! never far away from our old stereo console and I still get a chill when I hear those opening chords and a little teary when I listen to the lyrics..

So, for  Pete Seeger, to every thing there is a season.  Thank you.

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This is a new painting, a 16″ by 20″ canvas, that  I am calling Humble Home.  There’s a real crispness in the color of this piece, both in the clarity of the hues and in the way they react to one another.  It has, for lack of a better term, a real snap to it.

The form of this painting, the lone house  under a huge dome of  sky,  is one that I have revisited several times over the years.  The idea of a lone home standing against a vast sky always stirs emotion in me.  Their is a sense of grandeur and power in such a sky that gives one perspective on their own place and influence in this world.  However highly we esteem ourselves, we are indeed tiny before the sky and all its forces, both seen and unseen.  Thus the title, Humble Home.

But while the house here is humbled small beneath the forceful sky, it is no less confident of what it is at heart.  Humble does not mean a lack of confidence or a form of  servility.  It simply signifies a knowledge of things greater than one’s self.  The house here speaks of a solidness of belief  in one’s self and their place , however humble, in the great scheme of the universe.  It has purpose. 

It brings to mind the words from Ecclesiastes, or the Byrds if you prefer: To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Turn, turn, turn…

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