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'Sweet' Judy Blue Eyes

Wednesday, 22nd January, 2020 4:41pm

Legendary performer and folk music icon Judy Collins will take to the stage for one night only in Cork this month.

Judy is currently touring her new album ‘Winter Stories’ which was released in late 2019. The album features original work and covers of songs by other artists. It also features music by the Chantham County Line.

Speaking about the album, Judy said: “It’s got a lot of exciting things on it, some of which I’ve written myself. My song ‘The Blizzard’ is on it, ‘Mountain Girl’, and Joni’s song ‘River’, which I’ve never recorded before, which is interesting, and unlikely that I would have waited so long. But I guess I was waiting for this, for the right time.”

'The Blizzard' best represents the tone of the album which, as the name suggests, is a collection of songs about the winter season. 'The Blizzard' is a six-minute folk ballad with a delicate piano melody throughout, depicting a journey through a blizzard involving, snow, drinking, fighting, and strangers met along the way.

The album’s opening track, ‘Northwest Passage’ recounts the story of Captain John Franklin. “He was searching for the Northwest Passage when he lost his ships, all of his crew, and his life, but went down in history for what he did,” continued Judy.

Now in her 80th year, Judy shows no signs of slowing down with an extensive tour schedule which sees her travelling throughout Europe, the US, and Canada over the next six months.

When asked about her demanding tour schedule, Judy said: “As long as they’re calling, I’ll keep going. For me it’s the lifeblood, I love it. I started touring in 1959. That’s what I’ve always been doing, so I’m very accustomed to it. Also I take care of myself. I eat well, I sleep well. I don’t eat or smoke, or stay up all night. That helps.”

Originally from Seattle, Judy launched her folk music career in 1961 with her debut album ‘A Maid of Constant Sorrow’. The album featured traditional folk songs, including some nods to Judy’s Irish heritage, such as Irish ballads ‘Bold Fenian Men’ and ‘The Rising Moon’, a song about the 1798 rebellion.

Judy rose to international fame with her single ‘Both Sides Now’, from her 1967 album ‘Wildflowers’. The song won Judy a Grammy for Best Folk Performance. Originally written by Joni Mitchell, the song is ranked number 170 on the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list compiled by Rolling Stone.

Judy enjoyed success with the albums that followed, and reached a new level of fame with her cover of ‘Send in the Clowns’, originally written by Stephen Sondheim. The song spent 27 weeks in the charts between 1975 and 1977, earning her two more Grammy nominations.

Judy’s contemporaries included close friend Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and her former boyfriend, Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills, and Nash fame.

The song ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ was written by Stills while the pair were still a couple, and documented their relationship just before it ended.

Speaking about her career which spanned decades and featuring almost 40 albums, Judy said: “I’ve certainly changed. I’ve evolved. I love what I do, so my purpose has been to always be learning. Thinking about what’s next. Enjoying, not only what I’m doing now. There’s always new material to be doing and learning. So that’s exciting.”


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