Singer and Songwriter Judy Collins returns to Park City
May 19, 2015
Judy Collins is excited for her return to the Egyptian Theatre this week.
"It is a wonderful place to perform," Collins told The Park Record during a telephone interview from her home in New York. "I love playing there. I really love it."
For the past few years, Collins has made her annual trek to the Wasatch Back to share more than 50 years of award-winning music including, but not limited to, her hits, her deep-cut originals, showtunes and covers.
"As always, I plan to do a combination of hits and new songs and then scatter some [Stephen] Sondheim works along with a couple of my newest songs," Collins promised. "It will be quite the selection of things across the board."
Collins is looking forward to sharing her new songs, which she said are strange little creatures that come in their own due time.
"Sometimes they come together slowly and sometimes they happen quickly," she said with a laugh. "Sometimes it takes a long time and other times it doesn’t."
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There are also times when songs just won’t work out.
"That usually happens when I’ve had it with a lyric," Collins said with another laugh. "Most songwriters have more songs that didn’t work out than do."
Collins has a collection of unfinished tunes that have sat around for years.
"They just are there because nothing I’ve tried works, but once in a while I’ll hear something and it will take me back to one of those songs and I’ll change the first verse and things start to work."
Since she performed last in Park City, Collins has released a new CD and DVD, "Live in Ireland" that was recorded two years ago.
Collins, who is Irish American, said 2013 was an especially "Irish year" for her.
First off, the Grammy Award winner was given a lifetime achievement award by the Irish American Artists and Writers for her contribution to music and art.
"Every year this organization honors Irish American artists and I was one of the honorees in the early spring," Collins said. "Then I was inducted into the American Irish Historical Society in New York."
The year capped with Collins’ trip to Ireland to not only record the new CD and DVD, but also be honored by the Irish American Foundation and inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in New Ross, Wexford.
" the time I finished the year, I was more Irish than I had ever been," Collins said with another laugh.
Performing in Ireland for "Live in Ireland" was an event Collins will never forget.
"I loved that show," she said. "It all kind of fell into place."
The performance took place at Dromoland Castle, located near Newmarket-on-Fergus in County Clare.
"As touring goes, you get there the night before and you’re lucky if you get any amount of sleep," Collins said. "We were able to have a rehearsal in Dublin the day before and then drove out to the castle."
Collins and the musicians spent most of the next day on call.
"As it is, everything’s late as usual, and the guests and musicians are ready," she said. "Then the whole show is spent getting everything on tape and there is always a little panic. You don’t get the time you thought you had, but that’s the way it goes."
Irish singer Mary Black and fellow singer and songwriter Ari Hest joined Collins on stage during the show.
"We wanted to have a couple of guests," Collins said. "The first we wanted was an Irish singer, and Mary Black was just wonderful. She was delighted and delightful to work with."
Black joined Collins for a rendition of the traditional folk tune "She Moved Through the Fair."
"That was such fun to do," Collins said. "I have always loved that song."
Hest performed with Collins on one of his original works, "The Fire Plays."
"Ari and I have worked together and I’ve been playing one of his songs with him on the concerts he’s done with me," Collins said. "It makes a great contrast and we decided to do it again."
In addition, Collins’ manager discovered a young Irish step dancer named Emily Ellis, who also performed during the song "Granddaddy."
"Emily came on board and did a beautiful job step-dancing during one of the songs that I had written," Collins said. "It was a wonderful night."
Not one to rest on her laurels, Collins said she does have a few projects, including a new PBS show and album, in the works.
"I have to keep everything under wraps until I’m told to let things out of the bag," she confided. "But I’m keeping busy, because this is what my life is.
"I think artists who are fortunate to have a career like I have are constantly being thrust into situations where they have to have new material and new projects," Collins said. "It’s always challenging and if you’re lucky, they keep asking you to come back and sing. And if you’re extremely lucky, you can eke a living out of it. That’s the way it goes."
The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St., will welcome Judy Collins from Thursday, May 21, through Sunday, May 24. The Thursday, Friday and Saturday concerts will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday’s performance will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $39 to $65 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcityshows.com .