Rik Palieri —12 June 2019 on Rocket Shop Radio Hour
On Wednesday, June 12, Rik Palieri strolled into Rocket Shop with his banjo over his shoulder and smile beneath his mustache. Around the head of his banjo reads Pete Seeger’s notorious phrase, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.” Rik came into the station with a copy of his band’s new album, Steering Pete’s Course, which was created as an ode to the late Pete Seeger. Rik co-created the album with his friend Rick Nestler, and together the two are known as The Rix. Rik rode with Pete on the Hudson River aboard the Clearwater, and interviewed Pete for the Library of Congress.
Rik opened his presentation with the mantra, “Create what you want, where you are.” Rik’s message goes out to everyone, everywhere. For artists, this means pick up your tools and create, and for musicians, it means pick up your instrument and play, which anyone can do next Friday, June 21. Rik is hosting a Make Music Day celebration at Kingsland Bay Park. The event also honors Pete Seeger’s 100th birthday. Anyone with a song and an acoustic instrument can come by between noon and sunset and join in a song circle. Musicians and friends will strew themselves along porches and in the grass and play a variety of musical genres. Anyone is welcome to attend, and picnic baskets are recommended. You read more about it here.
Rik’s album, created in collaboration with Rick Nestler and collectively known as The Rix, features many friends of Pete Seeger. All artists featured on the album sailed, sang, and recorded with Pete. This includes artists like Guy Davis, David Bernz, Sarah Underhill and Melissa Ortquist. The album has nineteen songs, including many favorites like "The High Barbaree" and "Pay Me My Money Down," and lesser known songs, some of which The Rix had to pull from never recorded and nearly forgotten pages. The album focuses on themes surrounding water and the environment. Rik likes to point out that all of these songs were written in the 40s and 50s, and yet still we can still find meaning in them. Songs retain their value so long as they still have something to say, and Pete Seeger’s music survives for this reason. ‘Steering Pete’s Course’ is available here.
“Pete would always leave a little bit of himself in everyone’s heart,” says Rik. “And when he died, there was a hole in everyone’s heart.” Rik then turned to his friends for help, and together they decided that it was their responsibility to carry on his music. The Rix’s CD officially launches this weekend at the Clearwater Festival this Saturday from 7 PM until 10 PM at the Black Box Theater in Burlington.
Rik will also be performing with the Song Farmers Gathering at the Hinesburg Library On June 22nd from 1:30 PM until 3 PM. There will also be a special tribute to Pete at The Great Vermont Barn Dance Show at the Hinesburg Town Hall on Sunday June 23rd from 1 PM to 2:30 PM.
And although Rik’s instruments are never plugged in, his social media is. Find Rik on his website, or on his facebook.
Text by Luke Vidic
Photo by James Lockridge.