February 17, 2012
In 1961 Judy released her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, at the age of 22 and began a 35-year association with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. She interpreted the songs of fellow artists—particularly the social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. Judy was instrumental in bringing other singer-songwriters to a wider audience including poet/musician Leonard Cohen—and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman.
Judy Collins is also noted for her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” on her 1967 album Wildflowers, which has since been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Winning Song of the Year at the 1975 Grammy Awards was Judy’s version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music.
Judy has continued an impressive musical career with an extensive catalog from every decade throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and up to the present. Last July, Collectors’ Choice Music reissued nine CDs of Collins’ Elektra titles. These albums contain newly commissioned liner notes by Ritchie Unterberger that include interviews with Collins.
Judy has authored several books, including the inspirational memoir Sanity & Grace, focusing on the death of her only son and the healing process following the tragedy. She is also co-director, with Jill Godmillow, of an Academy Award-nominated film about Antonia Brico, the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world—and Judy’s classical piano teacher when she was young.
In 1999 Judy founded her own record label, Wildflower Records—a grass roots artist-driven label committed to nurturing fresh talent. The aim of the label is to develop long-term relationships with artists and their representatives in a way that Judy’s own career was nurtured by major labels.
Judy Collins’ social history has always been linked with her musical history. She is drawn to social activism and is a representative for UNICEF and campaigns on behalf of the abolition of landmines as well as many other causes.
Judy’s two latest creative projects, released last year, are a new CD, Paradise (Wildflower Records), a collection of ten songs that include duets of Judy with the legendary Stephen Stills and Joan Baez; and Over the Rainbow (Imagine Publishing), a magnificent oversized children’s picture book and 3-song CD set, featuring artwork by renowned painter Eric Puybaret illustrating the lyrics of this No. 1 movie song of all-time, coupled with Judy Collins’ enchanting recording of the title song makes this destined to become a beloved classic storybook, delighting children of all ages for decades to come.
Judy Collins, now 71, is still writing, performing, and nurturing fresh talent. She plays 80 to100 dates a year around the country. Judy Collins, a relentlessly creative spirit, 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.
This performance was co-sponsored with the Wheeler Opera House.