Pete seeger "Blessed be the Nation" project



In 2019 I was honored to be granted exclusive rights to set the poem, Blessed Be The Nation - by Pete Seeger & Jim Mussleman - to music. This is a profit-free, music sharing program created with the intention of expanding the reach of this wise and timely poem.  For more information visit our Facebook page at:

This lyric video of Blessed Be The Nation was created to help share this beloved & timely poem by Pete Seeger and Jim Mussleman.

Please learn the song. Sing and share freely. We need the message of this poem now more than ever!

CREDITS “Blessed Be The Nation” poem by PETE SEEGER & JIM MUSSLEMAN Music composed by JUDY BANKER ( Recorded & Engineered: DAVID ROOF at Rooftop Recording Studio, ( Grand Blanc, MI and Willis Recording Studio, Willis, MI 

MUSICIANS JUDY BANKER: lead vocals, acoustic guitar DAVID ROOF: acoustic guitar, background vocals BILLY KING: banjo, background vocals EMILY SLOMOVITS: fiddle, background vocals JOSE ARIAS, DONYA KIANA, CATHY KING, BEN SAYLER: background vocals

This lyric video of the poem "Blessed Be The Nation" by Pete Seeger & Jim Mussleman is set to music by Ann Arbor, MI songwriter, Judy Banker, *with exclusive permission from the Seeger estate. Written in 1964, "Blessed Be The Nation" was recited by Studs Terkel on the 1998 compilation album of the music of Pete Seeger, Where Have All The Flowers Gone. But no musical version has been composed.

Judy set the poem to her original music in May 2019 for a performance at For Pete's Sake, an annual Pete Seeger birthday celebration and benefit concert for The Ark folk music club in Ann Arbor. (A roster of local musicians take turns performing Pete's music at this event, which is organized each year by Ann Arbor-based folk musician, Sandor Slomovits.) Judy first heard the poem, when her late husband, John Sayler played Studs' recitation for her. It stuck with her ever since. With the political upheaval going on now, she dug back to re-read the poem and saw how profoundly relevant it is for today's issues--healthcare for all, equal rights and equal education, the environment. She searched the internet for a musical version of the poem and couldn't find one. So she decided to set "Blessed Be The Nation" to music, writing it with a simple vocal chorus that would (Pete Seeger-style) encourage audience participation. She performed the song at The Ark Pete Seeger birthday benefit concert with friends, Billy King and Emily Slomovits, who were also performing that evening. The audience sang along and all was well.

As it happened, a friend of the Seeger family, Martha Kransdorf, was in the audience. After the show, Martha encouraged Judy to consider publishing the song on YouTube and other social media as a wonderful way to expose a new audience to the poem and its important message. She put Judy in touch with the family and in November, 2019, the family granted Judy exclusive permission to set "Blessed Be The Nation" to music. The goal of this project is to introduce a wider audience to the message of the poem Blessed Be The Nation---by making the music/song free and easily accessible. So please share this link, learn the song, perform it, sing it to your kids. We need the message of this song now more than ever!

Visit our Facebook page at  If you have ideas about how we can do more to share this poem-song please email Judy at