b. 15 August 1933, New York City, New York, USA. Seeger is the son of well-known musicologist Charles Seeger, and Ruth Crawford Seeger, composer and author. From his youngest days he was surrounded by traditional music, and learned to play the autoharp at the age of 12. A few years later, he started to play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, dulcimer, mouth harp, and dobro. Together with his sister Peggy Seeger, he played with local square dance bands in the Washington area. His first involvement with country music came about while serving ‘time’ for conscientious objection, working in a hospital, when he teamed up with Hazel Dickens and Bob Baker.
Seeger formed the New Lost City Ramblers in 1958, with John Cohen and Tom Paley. That year, Seeger won the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Virginia for banjo work. It was during the late 50s that Seeger started the first of his many recordings of other singers, including Elizabeth ‘Libba’ Cotten, and Dock Boggs. Following changes in the personnel of the New Lost City Ramblers, Seeger worked a great deal more in a solo capacity, but still recorded with the group for the Folkways Records label. Seeger was involved with the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, and was a director of the Smithsonian Folklife Company from 1970. He helped form the Strange Creek Singers with Alice Gerrard, Lamar Grier, Dickens and Tracy Schwarz. On 16 August 1970 he married Gerrard, but they were later divorced.
Seeger has recorded numerous albums as a solo artist or with his sister, and has continued to perform at festivals throughout the world. His earlier work as a collector has also helped to keep alive a great deal of southern traditional music.