Grammy-winning folk icon Judy Collins sings at Theater at North in Scranton on Nov. 16
From a press release:
Collins previously visited Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2017, performing with Stephen Stills at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre. Her forthcoming album, “Winter Stories,” hits stores on Nov. 29 and features North Carolina newgrass quartet Chatham County Line and Norwegian artist Jonas Fjeld, known for his trio Danko/Fjeld/Andersen with The Band’s Rick Danko.
Doors at The Theater at North (1539 N. Main Ave., Scranton) open at 7:30 p.m., and the all-ages show begins at 8 p.m. Tickets, which are $50, can be purchased in advance via Eventbrite and thetheateratnorth.com, in person at the box office (Mondays 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Thursdays 3 p.m.-6 p.m., and Fridays 11 a.m.-1 p.m.), and on the night of the show at 6 p.m.
Judy Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs, and a firm commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 55-album body of work and heed inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century.
The 80-year-old singer/songwriter is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her landmark 1967 album “Wildflowers” has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Collins’ dreamy and sweetly intimate version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical “A Little Night Music,” won Song of the Year at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She’s garnered several Top 10 hits along with gold and platinum-selling albums. In 2008, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez, and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album “Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.”
Collins began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but the hard luck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics. The focus and regimented practice of classical music, however, would be a source of strength to her inner core as she navigated the highs and lows of the music business.
In 1961, she released her masterful debut, “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Tom Paxton. This began a wonderfully fertile 35-year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. Around this time, she became a tastemaker within the thriving Greenwich Village folk community and brought other singer/songwriters to a wider audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. Throughout the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and up to the present, she has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule.
Prolific as ever, she recorded a DVD special “Judy Collins: A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim” in her hometown of Denver, Colorado. Along with the Greely Philharmonic Orchestra, she dazzled the audience with Sondheim’s beautiful songs and her lovely, radiant voice. The DVD and CD companion was released in 2017. She also released a collaborative album in 2016, “Silver Skies Blue,” with writing partner Ari Hest. “Silver Skies Blue” was nominated fora Grammy for Best Folk Album in 2017, her first Grammy nomination in over 40 years.
Collins’ most recent singer/songwriter collaboration is “Winter Stories” (Wildflower Records/Cleopatra Records), including critically-acclaimed Norwegian folk artist Jonas Fjeld and masterful bluegrass band Chatham County Line. “Winter Stories” is a collection of classics, new tunes, and a few surprises, featuring spirited lead vocal turns, breathtaking duets, and Collins’ stunning harmony singing.
She has also authored several books, including the powerful and inspiring “Sanity and Grace: A Journey of Suicide, Survival, and Strength” and her extraordinary memoir, “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music.” For her most recent title, “Cravings: How I Conquered Food,” provides a no-holds barred account of her harrowing struggle with compulsive overeating and the journey that led her to a solution. Alternating between chapters on her life and those of the many diet gurus she has encountered along the way (Atkins, Jean Nidtech of Weight Watchers, and Andrew Weil, to name a few), “Cravings” is the culmination of her genuine desire to share what she’s learned so that no one has follow her heartrending path to recovery.
In addition, Collins remains a social activist, representing UNICEF and numerous other causes. She is the director (along with Jill Godmillow) of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico called “Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman,” the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world and Collins’ classical piano teacher when she was young.
Collins is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is a modern-day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished painter, filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.