Judy Collins Brings Old And New Music To The Egyptian Theater
Judy Collins has been writing and performing music for almost 60 years. She’s bringing new songs and classical standards to the Egyptian Theater Thursday through Friday night. She promises her audience a fresh show each performance. Carolyn Murray has this:
Judy Collins has performed prolifically through her lifetime. She started singing as a small child and was exposed to many music genres during her early life. She was part of the folk music revival of the late 50’s and 60’s when she started to sing professionally. Her songwriting about social justice has not waned and she continues to create poetry and lyrics addressing human rights issues.
“When I was a Unicef Representative and went to the former Yugoslavia, I wrote a song about the land mine situation called Sarajevo. I wrote songs about 9-11. I wrote songs about the interesting MeToo situation. I wrote a song called Lilly of the Valley which I’ll probably be singing there in Utah, in Park City. It’s about violence against women. And, I have always been an activist. I’ve been a representative of Unicef as I said. I’ve marched in Washington for women’s rights. I’ve marched for civil rights. I’ve been arrested from the capital in Washington.”
Recently, Collins was inspired to write the song “Dreamers” from the voice of a teenage daughter who came to the US with her mother.
“How she knew her mother was worried about her. How she was a Dreamer thinking that she might get thrown out of the country. So, Dreamers is my latest song of many, many songs about the world and what goes on around us. And, I have found that singing Dreamers the last few months in this country, has been a dynamic and extraordinary experience for me and my audiences and I will be singing it in Utah and in Park City.”
Collins has faced many personal challenges that includes, alcohol abuse, eating disorders and a loss of her voice due to a hematoma on her vocal chords.
“It was on my vocal-chord because of the drinking and the bulimia and all the riotous living that was going on I suppose. I’ve always been pretty calm and not on the party scene person even at the worst of my drinking. I was fortunate because after that surgery in 1977…I had to cancel about 45 shows. I was kind of at the top of my career previous to my recovery. I did get sober in 1978 so I’ve had a sober life for 40 years, which makes a huge difference.”
Collins has not cut back on her touring schedule. She performs solo and with other musicians including Jeff Bridges, Glen Hansard, Willie Nelson, Jackson Brown, Michael McDonald and Stephen Stills.
“No, it’s a handful of great guys. Oh, it was wonderful. I met up with a young singer named Ari Hess with whom I formed a friendship and I’ve had him open for me numerous times over the past six years. And, Ari wrote a song called Strangers Again and I said I’ve got to record that with you. Which we did and then I said, I’ve got to get a bunch of guys to come on and sing duets with me. It’ll be such fun.”
She does about 130 shows a year and by the end of this year she will have performed 115 with Stephen Stills. Her collaboration on the album, Silver Skies Blue with Ari Hess has garnered his first Grammy nomination and her first in about 40 years.
“I now hold the record of time between Grammy nominations. And, I found out that Gloria Gaynor is the runner-up with 23 years.”
Collins said her secret to a productive career is to never stop creating, to be your own advocate and always show up.
Judy Collins performs at the Egyptian on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights starting at 8. Call the Egyptian for more information or to purchase tickets. 435-649-9371