‘Judy Blue Eyes’ to play Ann Arbor Folk FestivalWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For 50 years, Judy Collins has been on a quest to find and write great songs.
“Something magical happens when you hear a song that you get attached to,” she said. “It’s mystical; you can’t diagnose it; you can’t examine it and explore it and get any kind of an answer, at least I can’t because it is magical.”
The folk icon is a music conjurer; there’s no misdirection, just a straightforward performance and voila! She’s made the song her own. Think “Both Sides Now,” “Amazing Grace” and “Send in the Clowns.”
On her 2010 disc, “Paradise,” the 71-year-old opens with the main song from “The Wizard of Oz.”
“I was given the opportunity to do a children’s book on the Peter Yarrow imprint of children’s music picture books, and he wanted me to do ‘Over the Rainbow,’ which I’d never sung, although I was named after Judy Garland, which is nice. I was born in the same year the movie came out,” Collins said.
A few seconds later during the phone interview, Collins, who was in London, recalled, “I sang [‘Over the Rainbow’] on ‘The Dinah Shore Show’ in 1981, and that program made it to YouTube, so you can see it there.”
Fans may see the Grammy Award winner perform that classic at the Ann Arbor Folk Festival Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at Hill Auditorium. Tickets are $47.50 and $30 or $85 and $50 for both nights.
“I think [folk music] was always a powerful force long before the ’60s happened, but certainly during the ’60s when it had kind of a rebirth, it was very helpful to focus people on the things that needed doing,” she said. “I think it’s a powerful force in galvanizing people emotionally and helping them to do the right thing.”
Collins is finishing a book, “Suite Judy Blue Eyes: Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Music That Changed a Generation,” which she said will be out this fall, along with a new disc.
While she couldn’t talk about the projects, when asked what it’s like to have a well-known Crosby, Stills & Nash song written for her, she replied, “It gets a girl’s attention.”
She and Stephen Stills sing a duet on “The Last Thing on My Mind” on “Paradise.”
“We’ve been friends all these years, but we’d never sung together,” she said. “We actually recorded together on my album in 1968 during that love affair when he wrote ‘Suite Judy Blue Eyes,’ but we’d never sung together, so it was thrilling.”
Ann Arbor Folk Festival
The Avett Brothers
Vienna Teng with Alex Wong
The Spring Standards
The Paper Raincoat
The Swell Season
The Doyle & Debbie Show
$47.50, $30 single night; $85, $50 both nights
Program subject to change