Driftin’ Along

Woody Guthrie (Source: U.S. Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs division)
Woody Guthrie (Source: U.S. Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs division)

    In 1912, a man was born, one who’d become a voice for the hard-working people of America. His name was Woody Guthrie. He was from a small town in Oklahoma, where the people did what they could with what little they had. His parents did what they could to raise their children, even though it was often difficult to get by. Before Woody was in school, he would make up songs and sing them on stage, which was really his front porch. His mother taught him and his siblings songs. In fact, Woody’s grandmother said that his mother loved music as a kid, singing and playing piano. His mother would explain the background to the lyrics and told her children to try to understand how other people see things. In his autobiography Bound For Glory, Guthrie recalls that he loved listening to his mother sing “The Sherman Cyclone”; he fell asleep listening to the words, “thinking about all the people in the world that have worked hard and had somebody else come along and take their life away from them” (Guthrie 88). Over the years, Guthrie would face the same scenarios as other down-on-their-luck workers. Yet, his heartfelt lyrics, describing the plight of the destitute, gave needed voice to the voiceless. Guthrie’s vision was one that unified the poor, no matter their background or skin color.Continue Reading

Voices of the Weary

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., joins hands with other African American leaders while singing 'we shall over come' at a church rally in Selma, Alabama on March 9, 1965. He is expected to lead a demonstration march. From left are James Farmer, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, unidentified, King, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. James Bevel. (AP Photo)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., joins hands with other African American leaders while singing ‘we shall over come’ at a church rally in Selma, Alabama on March 9, 1965. He is expected to lead a demonstration march. From left are James Farmer, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, unidentified, King, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. James Bevel. (AP Photo)

    The Civil Rights Movement was both inevitable and necessary. Black people all across the country, especially in the South, knew it was time for their voices to be heard; they were tired of being treated as second-class citizens, or worse. For many years, African Americans found solace in singing spirituals in their predominately black churches. Of course, some of those were burned down by the KKK. In 1963, that same hate group bombed a Birmingham Baptist church, killing four black girls; African Americans weren’t even safe inside their own places of worship. During the Civil Rights era, African Americans often marched hand-in-hand, while singing about the freedom they dreamed of. With the untimely assassinations of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., songs sung within King’s continuing non-violent movement, while bringing hope to many, were not going to sway the hearts of oppressors. The soulful songs of the Civil Rights Movement, however, helped bring millions of black-as well as white-people together, which strengthened the fight for freedom.Continue Reading

Together in Song

Noted folk singer Pete Seeger entertaining at the opening of the Washington labor canteen, sponsored by the United Federal Labor Canteen, sponsored by the Federal Workers of America, Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). First lady Eleanor Roosevelt seen at center. 1212 18th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. [13 February 1944] (Source: Library of Congress – Photograph by Joseph A. Horne)
Noted folk singer Pete Seeger entertaining at the opening of the Washington labor canteen, sponsored by the United Federal Labor Canteen, sponsored by the Federal Workers of America, Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). First lady Eleanor Roosevelt seen at center. 1212 18th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. [13 February 1944] (Source: Library of Congress – Photograph by Joseph A. Horne)

    In 2009, author Alec Wilkinson published The Protest Singer, a small book about folk singer Pete Seeger’s hugely impactful life. This was a project that took three years to complete and would not have been the same without input from Seeger himself. Wilkinson called Seeger when the singer was in his late 80s and in the sunset of his long life. Even still, the famous singer made time for the author and the two got to know each other. Seeger passed away, sadly, five years after the book came out. Yet, the work is invaluable in terms of familiarizing all types of readers with who Seeger was and what he stood for. When Wilkinson asked his subject if he could write a book about him, Seeger told him that there was already an abundance of things written about him; however, Seeger said, “What’s needed is a book that can be read in one sitting” (Wilkinson 9). As the author pieced together the amazing life of the folk singer, he discovered Seeger’s genuine love for America and its working class. The singer, who often wrote about justice and rights, was not out for fame and riches; on the contrary, he wanted to be a voice for people without money and power. That didn’t mean, however, that he only wanted to hear his own singing at performances. It wasn’t about him. What he really wanted was participation across the country and for people to use the power of song to change the nation.Continue Reading

Words in the Wind

With Joan Baez during the civil rights “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”, August 28, 1963 (Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
With Joan Baez during the civil rights “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom”, August 28, 1963 (Source: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)

    Dylan is a man known around the world. Yet, it seems like a miracle that his music was launched into the stratosphere; his voice is about as about as smooth as a broken record. In his book Chronicles Volume I he explains that at the beginning of the 60s, when he first arrived in the Big Apple, the record industry was all about putting out clean homogenous music. His sound, image, and lyrics just didn’t appear to be what the big labels were looking for. He wanted to find his folk music heroes in the city, including Woodie Guthrie. Dylan’s goal was to get signed to Folkways Records. He played at numerous bars and clubs in Greenwich Village, including the famous Gaslight Café. Dylan became a central figure in the village and got noticed by a few record execs. He got signed to Columbia Records, which he thought was surprising since they weren’t known for folk music. There was something special about the young singer/songwriter. He saw the world in a unique way and his lyrics had real authenticity. The mystery of Dylan’s lyrical magic lies in his interpretation of the moving world around him.Continue Reading

My First Book is Now Out!

bookcovers

Description:

While there are thousands of books which cover a single religion or spiritual topic, A Spirit In Motion serves as today’s starting point for understanding worldwide views of the spirit, soul and afterlife. This all-encompassing book by Aaron J. Schieding addresses many of the great questions asked by people of every generation: What is the inner spark of life? Do we live more than once? Is there an afterlife?

A Spirit In Motion features exclusive interviews with experts in the six largest religions: Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity; get the inside story on the spiritual and afterlife beliefs of these faiths through academics and religious leaders from three different continents. Find out what they have in common and what they don’t. Discover earlier influences on modern faiths from civilizations from antiquity.

Follow Aaron J. Schieding’s quest for spiritual knowledge as he delves into views from the medical and scientific communities, as well as the world of art, film, music, paranormal research, and emerging technology. Read about those who report previous lives. Learn about varying views on the place of the spirit in the martial arts through the stories of well-known figures, as well as an original interview with two martial arts masters. Finally, become versed in the apparent connection between psychedelics, the brain, the divine and the spiritual, by way of an exclusive interview with a medical doctor.

Reviews:

“This is a marvelous look at our souls and their links to unseen dimensions around us through the eyes of eminent scholars and religious leaders!…a book that is highly readable, intensely thought-provoking….It’s a tall order to integrate and explain belief systems and spiritual beings, but Schieding did so in a manner that was quite impressive.”
–Feathered Quill Book Reviews

A Spirit in Motion is worth the read if you have an interest in the beliefs surrounding the human soul, and the afterlife.”
–Readers’ Favorite –✭✭✭✭

Where to Buy: