The creative process opens new doors for Judy Collins
What: Judy Collins
When: 8 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday, Oct. 11-13
Where: The Egyptian Theatre, 328 Main St.
How much: Thursday tickets range from $29-$45. Friday and Saturday tickets are $35-$55.
Since the 1960s, folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins has inspired audiences to come together and take stands against social injustice. But her music catalog included more than protest songs.
She is also known for her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Collins’ version hit the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 in 1968 and won her a Grammy in 1969.
Collins’ take on “Amazing Grace” was a Top 20 hit in 1970. Then, in 1975, Collins recorded a Top 10 version of “Send In the Clowns,” from the Stephen Sondheim musical “A Little Night Music.”
Collins, who will perform at the Egyptian Theatre from Oct. 11-13, said her career is a reflection of her interests.
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“Life is what you write and think about, and there are many things in life — whether you sit back on a bank and watch a river or join a march or sit in the kitchen trying to figure out what to have for dinner,” Collins said with a chuckle. “I don’t feel that anyone has a responsibility to do anything except to stay alive and be healthy. I feel you have to do what you’re moved to do.”
The singer said the creative process keeps her going because she never knows where it will lead.
As an example, Collins relayed a line from a new poem she had written a few hours prior to this interview.
“The poem says, ‘That night the wind was very cold. The moon was just a sliver. I rode along a mountain trail that ran above the river,’ And who knows where that will go,” she said “I have no idea, but that’s why we take a chance with creativity. We can find out what’s going on later.”
Collins, who has been in the music business for more than 50 years, also draws inspiration from other artists she has worked with, including Billy Joel, Ari Hest, Shawn Colvin and former beau Stephen Stills, with whom she recorded and released the new album “Stills & Collins” earlier this year.
“I get inspired by certain artists and dramatically stimulated by different kinds of work,” she said.
A couple of years ago, an interview sparked her interest in the DREAM Act.
The bill, which informed the later DACA policy (which the Trump administration has ended) was introduced into Congress on March 26, 2009, with the purpose of giving undocumented students a chance to become permanent residents of the United States.
Her new song “Dreamers” was inspired by a Dreamer herself, Collins said.
“It came about a couple of years ago, and I wrote it after watching an interview with the daughter of an immigrant,” Collins said. “The daughter had expressed her uncomfortable feeling of the fact that she might get deported.”
Collins debuted the song a cappella during a four-night concert engagement at Jazz Alley in Seattle.
“After the first show, my husband suggested I sing the ‘new song,’” Collins said. “I had tried to put music to it, but nothing seemed to work. So I did it without any instruments.”
“Dreamers” started as a poem.
“I write a lot of poetry to keep my hand in creativity, and every once in awhile I come up with something that works,” Collins said. “I think the song shakes people up, and I hope it will remind them to vote.”
Collins said immigration, while a global issue, is unique in the United States.
“Our structure is based on having been founded on dreamers,” she said. “Those who founded the United States came from somewhere else. We have the Spanish, the French, the Germans, the Irish, the Polish and Italians, and that gives us a different perspective on this issue. It gives us a more critical responsibility to help the Dreamers. At least that’s what I believe.”
The Park City concerts will feature “Dreamers” and Collins’ other hits.
“I always perform new things and highlight what I’m doing at the moment,” she said. “I hope everyone comes and have a great time.”
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Some of the recordings are of radio broadcasts from decades past, and some of the recordings are from Beethoven Festival performances from the past few years.