Rev. Sekou is an activist, writer, theologian and community organizer with a dense resume stretching back to before the 2000s. He says he found his calling at age 19 when he visited the Highlander Center, the research and education retreat in East TN where legions of civil rights activists have been trained and where the song 'We Shall Overcome' was adapted to the central struggle of the American 20th century. Sekou has been a pastor in New York and Boston. He’s worked on the ground in Haiti after its devastating 2010 earthquake, in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Ferguson, MO in 2014.
But only in the last few years, in his mid 40s by the way, did Rev. Sekou step forward as a songwriter and singer, as a soul and blues man. He did grow up around music and attended college on a voice scholarship. He’s been in some bands. But it’s clear that in going on tour and recording his two albums The Revolution Has Come and In Times Like These, music has become a new way for Rev. Sekou to speak his truth and inspire his cause. This all made for a fascinating conversation.
Also, an in-depth talk with John McEuen about why, after its 50th year, he parted ways with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the process of writing his new autobiography, The Life I've Picked.