Thursday, September 17, 2009

R.I.P. Mary Travers

I grew up in a household that played a lot of folk music. In fact while ours was not a family that played a lot of music (till "The Boys" became teens and started playing "our" music) I don't remember much of any other kind of music being played. So being a child of the 60's I heard a lot of Peter, Paul and Mary.

And that was just fine with me.

Mary Travers is the reason why I have a little bit of a "thing" for girls with bangs and long blonde hair (that and the very cool friend of my parents who reminded me of Mary Travers. Always had a bit of little boy's crush on her too).

I love the optimism of the music. I love the energy. I love the intelligence and the questions that the music lifts up. I'm struggling along trying to learn to play guitar for one reason and one reason alone, so I can play folk music.

And Mary Travers stands at the center of all of that. I loved the sound of Peter, Paul and Mary. The music helped to form my concepts of social justice, peace and freedom. Call me an aging hippie if you like (you'd be wrong, I was too young to be a hippie and my parents raised me to be far too "straight") but I believe the political discourse of today could stand some of those sentiments. Let me also say that I accept that some of the lack of civility in today's discourse also stems from that time. However American political discourse has ALWAYS been loud and rude. At the moment I'm far more concerned about the lack of optimism that the lack of civility.

It seems like I've wandered from my paean to Mary Travers but I think not. My bet is that she'd be pleased that even in death she inspired someone to care, to speak out and dream. She did all of those things for me.

Mary Travers, born in Kentucky to journalists and trade unionists, who left school in the 11th grade to follow her dream of singing, who sang back up for Pete Seeger (another musical hero), and made up one third of the most popular folk group of the 1960's, died from complications related to the chemotherapy she was receiving for leukemia. She was 72.

And I still have a bit of that school boy crush. Here's one of my favorites:

1 comment:

Amy said...

I love their music. I offer my prayers and condolences to the family.