Mike Seeger’s Old Time Music

<img amike-seeger.jpg
The music that we’re speaking of is a cultural resource that we’ve built up over thousands of years… Before we had radio and phonographs… The music from these earlier, old times endured through the generations because of its rich and varied sounds and lyrics and because it filled the needs of the people, who, after all, created it for themselves.Mike Seeger
As many of you probably know, Mike Seeger died on August 7. I’ve been listening to some of his work and thought it would be cool to have some company, so I’ve made a station called Mike Seeger’s Old Time Dream, based on our collections of Mike Seeger’s music as well as our collection of the New Lost City Ramblers, the group that he founded and played with for more than 50 years.
Mike Seeger was a key participant and leader in the “old time music” movement, and if you’re not familiar with this music, you’re on the threshold of a very cool discovery. Even if you ultimately decide you don’t particularly like it (doubtful, I bet), old time music’s acoustic instrumentation, rough performances, and old shared songs preserve a powerful way of making music (and perhaps of living).
Old time music lets us hear the sound of music as it must have been before recordings were common. Back when performances would have been more idiosyncratic, less standardized, and would have come out in the same ways of speaking and being that the people used in everyday life.
It also takes old, unattributed songs as a main part of its repertoire. These days, assuming someone wanted to write those kinds of songs, modern copyright laws might make sharing them difficult, at least in their recorded form. But songs that were shared freely in the ongoing, practical use and performance of the songs by people in their homes would live on, as the traditional repertoire has for so long.
Mike Seeger’s Old Time Dream, indeed.
There is so much to hear and ask about this music, but I’ll beg off here and let Mike Seeger do the real work. Looking forward to hearing comments, and thanks for reading and listening!


  1. gillian
    August 21, 2009 at 2:44pm
    The death of Mike Seeger certainly is a loss. At least his music has left such a wonderful legacy--and we still have brother Pete around, right? I will definitely listen to this new station. I also wanted to say that the whole concept of Pandora radio blows my mind. It's amazing. I am speechless...well, almost. I wanted to say thanks so much for working so hard on such an amazing site!
  2. Michael Zapruder
    August 21, 2009 at 2:52pm
    Indeed, Gillian. Hope you like the station and thanks for the kind words!
  3. skirejser
    August 21, 2009 at 10:44pm
    This guy was just awesome, i loved the music and its so sad that he is dead. But thanks for the work Pandora. Thanks
  4. Tim Roberts
    August 22, 2009 at 8:26am
    Sorry to say Pete's not with us any more either. I appreciate Pandora keeping their music accessible. There is a wealth of Old Time music out there that will blow people's minds.
  5. Michael Zapruder
    August 22, 2009 at 9:34am
    hi tim - I guess I get to be the one to let you know some good news: pete seeger is in fact alive. agreed - re: the wealth of mind-blowing Old Time music out there... cheers, mz
  6. rudy
    August 23, 2009 at 8:43am
    great music selection. I love it..
  7. Adam
    August 24, 2009 at 1:06pm
    In honor of Mike Seeger, perhaps you could change the database so that songs recorded before the invention of bluegrass (1950's) stop declaring that they have "bluegrass influences." Eck Robertson, the Skillet Lickers, and Earl Dunford predate bluegrass by decades. The "folk revival" that Mike Seeger was a key part of was largely about rediscopvering work such as theirs that existed before Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys came along. Nothing in the "Old Time Country" channel should be listed as having "Bluegrass Influences" Indeed, it should be the other way around.
  8. Michael Zapruder
    August 24, 2009 at 1:17pm
    Great point, Adam. In honor of Mike Seeger, and thanks to you, this oversight has been fixed. The change should make its way into the public music player by the middle of next week, at which time this particular oversight will soon disappear. Nice catch. cheers, mz
  9. Anonymous
    August 25, 2009 at 3:51am
    that's a great Mike Seeger music collection. thanks Michael for the station
  10. Barb
    August 25, 2009 at 11:15am
    Why are you putting advertisements into your beautiful music selections? What does "AdventureLand" have to do with lovely piano music? Poor, poor taste. Do you want to loose listeners?
  11. John
    August 26, 2009 at 11:00am
    Seeger received six Grammy nominations over the life of his career. Amazing person... John Rosa
  12. Sheldon
    August 26, 2009 at 1:31pm
    @ Barbara... ?? Pay your $36 bucks to contribute and join Pandora One and no ads. It is the price of 2-3 music cd's and you have EVERYTHING at your fingertips. Well worth supporting such an amazing company.
  13. Mark McDonough
    August 27, 2009 at 11:53am
    Hey guys, you accidentally inserted a break tag at the end of your link to the "old time dream" station, which makes it not load properly into the player. What you have: <a href="<br /> " Target="New">Mike Seeger's Old Time Dream</a> What you want: <a href="" Target="New">Mike Seeger's Old Time Dream</a> And as a matter of fact, yes, I am a software tester! :-)
  14. Michael Zapruder
    August 27, 2009 at 4:23pm
    hey mark - thanks! you're pretty good! mz
  15. Sharon
    August 29, 2009 at 6:40pm
    Thanks for playing the song "Two More Bottles of Wine" by EmmyLou Harris. It's one of my all-time favorites. Sharon jenkins
  16. Prem
    September 11, 2009 at 6:35pm
    One of my favorite of Mike Seeger's bands was Strange Creek Singers, featuring among others Hazel Dickens. This very vocal-oriented band is considerably more obscure than the New Lost City Ramblers, with only one self-titled release (to my knowledge) featuring recordings from 1968-1970, but it's certainly worth the search for inclusion on Pandora.
  17. Baylor Calvin
    September 15, 2009 at 5:33am
    i love pandora, it is a great way for me to listen to music without paying!

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