VIDEOS: Peter Yarrow still a voice for this country
Peter Yarrow’s show on Saturday at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse in Franklin was a powerhouse performance. It was no surprise that Yarrow, one-third of the former folk legends Peter, Paul & Mary, came to Franklin expecting people to sing, hear about injustices, learn how to share love and understanding among our fellow people. In short, bring home the Folk Movement to people who both lived it and are passing it on.
Yarrow was in fine voice before the sell-out 292-person audience at the coffeehouse. And that many voices (plus volunteers) raised in song, can be impressive and moving.
Yarrow, 73, drew strongly on the songs from the 60s folk era and later, popular tunes like “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” which he said was performed recently at the memorial for his friend and former band-mate Mary Travers. Others from the movement, like “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “If I Had A Hammer,” all brought out the full vocal power of the audience. Yarrow found himself singing harmony to the crowd, adding vocal passages as the audience kept time or just kept singing. Occasionally, he’d have to correct their timing, but he did so with ease and enjoyment. It was a hootenanny extraordinaire, as Yarrow brought young people on stage to join him in the singing of “Puff the Magic Dragon,” giving them each a turn at the microphone (watch it in the video playlist above).
At one point he paused to remember Peter, Paul & Mary bassist Richard Kniss, who played with the group for more than 50 years, and died in January.
By the second set, Yarrow was taking requests, trying to remember lyrics (with the help of a devout audience) and simply loving life on stage. He played for almost three hours. I guess I’d expect nothing less from an icon of the folk world.