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S o w i n g ...t h e.... S e e d s

beach full of shells
Various Artists
Sowing the Seeds - The 10th Anniversary


“Appleseed has built its reputation as a label unafraid of politics, a place where an artist can speak his or her mind without fear of censorship. More than that, however, the label has now made it to the ten-year mark, proving that doing the right thing doesn't have to be financially foolish. Sowing the Seeds – The Tenth Anniversary, then, is a celebration, highlighted by the fruits of Appleseed’s labors, brightened by a handful of new tracks and spread out over two discs. The names, from Pete Seeger to Ani DiFranco, reveal a label deeply connected to tradition . . . but also one with an ear to the ground for new voices. . . . Sowing the Seeds – The Tenth Anniversary makes a solid argument that folk and folk-derived music is alive and well in the 21st century, and more than that, the music makes for a fine celebration.”
– Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., All Music Guide
“Despite its weighty mission statement – ‘to explore the roots aand branches of folk and world music and sow the seeds of social justice through music,’ no less – the Appleseed label is no over-worthy do-gooder. . . . It has spread the word to free-thinking bohemians and quietly built a roster that includes such legends as Pete Seeger, Roger McGuinn, Donovan and Tom Paxton. To celebrate its first decade, this handsome collection is split between two discs: the first with a strong political bent, the second to explore the wider human issues. If this still sounds earnest, the beauty of this record is its subtlety. The protest songs pack a punch, but there’s none of the hollow sloganeering that blights many a righteous shindig. . . . In keeping the folk fires burning, Appleseed does it with vim, vision and a heap of imagination. (4 stars, featured Americana CD)”
– Rob Hughes, Uncut, UK, Jan. 2008
“From small seeds, the 10-year-old label has harvested an abundant orchard of folk music, as this anniversary anthology attests. With Pete Seeger providing the spoken-word invocation and benediction that frame the two-disc set, while serving as the collection’s patron saint throughout, it mixes highlights from the Appleseed catalog with new tracks featuring fellow travelers Bruce Springsteen (in duet with Seeger on ‘Ghost of Tom Joad’) and Ani DiFranco (on Seeger's ‘Waist Deep in the Big Muddy’). The music not only revives folk tradition but renews it, as the pairing of Eric Andersen with Lou Reed on ‘You Can't Relive the Past’ sounds recognizably like the work of both. The compilers pay as much attention to sequencing as to selection of material, with the first disc more often demanding justice, while the second one offers hope. With a roster that now includes veterans such as Donovan and Tom Paxton as well as relative newcomers like the Kennedys and Lizzie West, the anthology traces the legacy of folk tradition while offering indications of where the music's going. Here's wishing for many happy returns (and future anthologies).”
– Don McLeese, Editorial Review
“As it remains true to its founding mission – to preserve and promote folk and traditional music while inspiring social and political action – there is no doubt that when the hour of accounting comes for record labels, Jim Musselman’s Appleseed Recordings will be one of the infant’s handful allowed to pass peacefully into the golden beyond. . . . Here is the label that harbors Pete Seeger’s treasures and inspired Springsteen's Seeger Sessions. . . . Here is where Catholic and Protestant school children sang together for peace in Northern Ireland. Appleseed is where hope, not only for the future of music, but hope in our common future, dwells and thrives. Highlights among these 37 tracks include the jangly effervescence of Pete and Maura Kennedy’s ‘Namaste.’ Paxton’s ‘The Bravest’ and Lizzie West’s ‘19 Miles to Baghdad’ are an unbeatable 9-11 one-two punch. Tommy Sands/Dolores Keane/Verdan Smalovic’s ‘Where Have All The Flowers Gone’ and Sands/Smailovic/Seeger’s ‘Music Of Healing’ can’t help but assure that peace is out there, if only we stop looking only at ourselves. Exclusive new tracks by Seeger/Springsteen and Ani DiFranco only up the ante.”
– Mike Jurkovic, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
“This label seemed so fully formed out of the box that there’s a little bit of a disconnect realizing this is the label's 10th anni now. With a well packed double disc that hits a lot of highlights, as well as sneaks in some new, exclusive tracks like Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen facing off on ‘Ghost of Tom Joad,’ you can’t help but be impressed with where the label has been and where it’s headed. A great home for folk music in the era of the boy bands, all ends of the folk spectrum, especially the political side, have been well represented. If you've got a taste for folk music and don't know the label that well, this is a great place to dive in and find out what you've missed as well as being a head’s up on things to come.  Congrats to all involved.”
– Chris Spector, Midwest Record, Aug. 19, 2007
“. . . [A] fantastic anniversary two-disc, 37-track compilation. All the label’s key artists are represented I think, and most sensibly too with regard to choice of material . . . The actual running order adopted also proves a significant contributory factor in the overall success of this anniversary compilation, I find: take the first CD in particular, with its 9/11 sequence (songs by Tom Paxton and Lizzie West) at its heart, followed by a supremely passionate new opus ‘Walking Down Death Row’ from Pete Seeger. And, like all good compilations, there’s also a sizeable ‘carrot’ in the shape of nine exclusive tracks specially recorded for this anniversary issue . . .  One final feature of this issue worth highlighting, aside from the consistently excellent recording quality, is the exemplary 28-page booklet, which is packed with information, insight and useful background detail. Whether or not you already have some Appleseed CDs in your collection, this is a truly exceptional compilation, and is self-recommending on every count.”
– David Kidman, NetRhythms, Oct. 9, 2007
“This is the thinking person’s protest music; subtle and informed, and (mostly) free of empty sloganeering and banner-waving. . . . An aural delight, history lesson and conscience-pricker all in one. (4 stars)”
– Terry Staunton, Record Collector, UK, December 2007
“This isn’t your regular compilation CD. It includes nine new recordings, mainly on the first disc . . . and is where Appleseed wears its sociopolitical heart on its sleeve. . . . The second disc is a more conventional selection of back catalogue but even here there’s nothing lightweight. . . . As an insight into what the label is all about, this is an excellent set. (4 stars)”
– Dai Jeffries, Rock ’n’ Reel, UK, Jan/Feb 2008
“Some pretty heavy hitters are singing out for peace and justice on Sowing the Seeds –  The 10th Anniversary (B+) . . . Much of the first disc offers pointed comments on the war state of mind. . . . But the one that really got to me was Tom Paxton’s salute to the firefighters who valiantly fought the World Trade Center blaze, ‘The Bravest.’ It'll tear your soul apart.”
– Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News, Sept. 11, 2007
“Appleseed Recordings specializes in contemporary, traditional, and political folk music. The company, whose motto is ‘Sowing the Seeds of Justice Through Music,’ combines a utopian version of the future with a gritty understanding of our past and present circumstances. Appleseed has just released a double CD to celebrate its 10th anniversary. The first disc, labeled ‘And Justice For All,’ features topical songs that address poverty, the War in Iraq, and capital punishment by musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger (it was a tribute for Pete Seeger on this label that initially brought Seeger’s music to the attention of the Boss), Billy Bragg, Ani DiFranco, Steve Earle, Joan Baez and Jackson Browne, and Wyclef Jean. The second disc, ‘Love, Hope and Appleseed’ offers a more upbeat selection by artists that include David Bromberg, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Judy Collins, John Stewart, Roger McGuinn, and Arlo Guthrie. Forty years ago, many of these artists were in the mainstream of popular folk that truly was popular. These days folk is a niche market, but these musicians still know how to captivate, educate, and entertain the listener.”
– Steve Horowitz, PopMatters, September 19, 2007
“. . . A treat is in store for those searching out the roots of American music, msinger-songwriters, musicians/vocalists with a social conscience and how life is seen by ordinary people of the lane. (4 stars)”
– Maverick, UK, Dec. 2007
“. . . A wonderful collection of folk tunes . . .Even the oldest of the songs still sound frighteningly relevant in today’s world. (3½  discs out of 4)”
– This Week in New York, October 17, 2007
“Springsteen, and especially Seeger, are both quite prominent on Sowing the Seeds, the first ever music sampler from Appleseed Recordings. Appleseed is an independent folk and world music label that is equally devoted to spreading a message of social justice and equality through music. In addition to talking the talk, the folks at Appleseed also walk the walk by donating a percentage of every dollar they make to various human rights, environmental, and other progressive organizations. On this two-disc, 37-track set the various highlights of the label’s ten-year history are recapped, along with nine brand new exclusive tracks which appear for the very first time here. . . . Most notable however, is the inclusion of Seeger’s first actual duet with Bruce Springsteen on the latter’s ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad.’ . . . Where Sowing the Seeds’ first disc shoots straight for the politically charged songs, the second disc here, subtitled ‘Love, Hope, and Appleseed’ goes for the more common themes of simpler things like love, hope, and faith. Some of the melodies here are quite beautiful, and the stories told in the words of songs like Tommy Sands’ duet with – you guessed it – Pete Seeger on ‘Music Of Healing,’ are rich in lyrical imagery. . . . Sowing the Seeds offers an excellent introduction to folk music for someone looking to discover this most original American artform for the first time. There is also enough essential new stuff here, that it is an equal must for the diehard. . . . The packaging it should be noted, is also some of the best I've ever seen on a compilation like this. It includes an extensive introduction and history of Appleseed Records, detailed liner notes on every track, and tons of great photos.”
– Glen Boyd,, Aug. 17, 2007
“Appleseed Recordings . . . is a label that weds roots music and social activism, but it is not about agitprop. It looks to forge connections between the past and present, and more often than not creates music that’s built to last – and not just the folkie variety. That’s evident on Sowing the Seeds . . . (3-1/2 stars)”
– Nick Cristiano, Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 21, 2007
“The worthiness of this idealistic indie is beyond question. (3 stars)”
– Sylvie Simmons, Mojo, UK, Jan. 2008