At 91 years old, iconic folk singer Pete Seeger is still plucking tunes of protest on his legendary banjo. Although he doesn’t write many new songs anymore, the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf moved him to team with folk singer Lorre Wyatt and pen a track called “God’s Counting on Me, God’s Counting on You.”
He debuted the song on two special occasions last week, first outside the senate chamber in Albany for a rally against hydrofracking in New York State and then a few days later at a fundraising concert for Gulf charities in New York City (video above).
The environment has long been a focus of Seeger’s work, particularly in his native Hudson Valley. So it’s no surprise he sees an immediate connection between the drilling in the Gulf and the proposed drilling near New York’s watershed.
In his trademark sing-along style, Seeger moved audiences with lyrics like “When the drill baby drill turns to spill baby spill/God’s counting on me/God’s counting on you” and the uplifting chorus, “Hopin’ we’ll all pull through/me and you.”
After the show, he told Rolling Stone, “I’m a fan of old songs that have a lot of repetition, spirituals… Some of the greatest songs in the world only have one line, like ‘This little light of mine.’ ”
For more on Pete Seeger and the important role of music in social movements, watch the endlessly inspiring documentary on Seeger’s life The Power of Song.
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