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Judy Collins In Concert In Bath, Maine

November 27, 2013
Judy Collins

Judy Collins

I had the pleasure of attending a Judy Collins concert in Bath, Maine last Friday night. At age 74, Judy is stunningly beautiful – looking very much like the photo shown in this post, though her hair is now pure white. Her voice is still true and angelic – and by that I don’t mean sweet so much as powerful, clear and majestic. She (as well as her audience) was grateful for  the astounding sound system at the Chocolate Church Arts Center where she performed.

I’ve heard that scent is the front-running human sense when it comes to evoking strong memory and emotion. But scent has never moved me to tears – as the sound of Andres Segovia playing guitar did when I saw him in concert nearly forty years ago and as Judy Collins’ voice did Friday night.

By her sound, I was transported to the ’70s – on a veritable magic carpet ride even though she did not sing many songs from that era.

Judy talked about the influences that set her on her course as a musician – her parents, the folk scene in New York City, her Irish heritage. I think that this talk/walk through her personal music history is her gift to her audiences. At her age, I’m sure she knows that she needs to impart on us as much as she can before she stops performing – though that day does not seem soon in coming, as she now performs 80 – 100 times per year.

Judy Collins history cannot help but include the mention of such notables as Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Leonard Cohen – each of whom she talked about Friday night among many others.

Judy was close to her parents. This song, “In the Twilight,” which she wrote about her mother resonated with me as I thought of my own mother who died in 2011. (Judy’s mother died in 2010.) The quality of Collins voice in this recording is just as it sounded Friday in concert.

I hope that John Newton somehow heard in his mind Judy Collins singing Amazing Grace, which he wrote. I cannot imagine anyone singing that song more beautifully. Friday night she invited us to join her after she sang a good deal of the song alone. Her voice was as true as it is in this 1970 recording.

For the first half of her show, Judy played a 12 string guitar. For the second half, she mostly played piano and her classical training was immediately apparent. She is so at ease at the piano.

If Judy is performing in your area, whatever your age or musical interests, please try to see her. She’s an American icon.

If you’d like to read more about Judy Collins now-a-days, here’s an article that reflects what I saw and heard Friday night.

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