February 2022 ‘Album Of The Month’….
(5 / 5)
Not many artists can sustain a career of half a century and still be at the top of their game AND still possess a voice as strong and as angelic as it was when they first found fame.
US folk icon Judy Collins has on both counts – and she has just released her gorgeous new album “Spellbound” – her 29th album and it is a career-first as Judy penned all the songs herself.
Spellbound introduces 12 recently composed, modern folk songs and a bonus track of her evergreen The Blizzard. The singles “When I Was A Girl In Colorado” and the title track can be heard, below, via the two lyric videos, as a taster of just how stunning this new material is.
With Spellbound, Collins (who will be 83-years-old in May 2022), has created an introspective album that unfolds as a curated exhibition of her remarkable life, welcoming listeners into her formative moments, both public and personal.
In her liner notes, Judy dedicates the album to folk masters Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, whose traditions of generously sharing their lives, loves, and reflections are carried forward in Spellbound’s honest and personal songwriting.
While Collins has long been celebrated for her song interpretation and has shared a host of beloved original songs since her early albums, never before has she created an album entirely of her own work, until now.
“They say after the plague came the Renaissance,” says Judy. “Now felt like the perfect time to make this record because, after all that’s happened in the world, we need something beautiful and inspirational to lift us up”.
“Spellbound” showcases Collins’ evocative and painterly songwriting, with lyrics that revisit periods of her life, including the fertile 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene (So Alive), childhood moments in nature (When I Was A Girl In Colorado), snapshots of her ‘hell-raising’ years, and lifelong social activism (personified in Thomas Merton about the monk/author and renowned anti-war activist).
The album title references a formative time in Judy’s life when her pure love of the outdoors lured her to consider life as a park ranger.
Judy worked with a trusted family of musicians including co-producer Alan Silverman and singer-songwriter-guitarist Ari Hest (Judy and Ari were nominated for a Best Folk Album Grammy in 2016 for their duet record Silver Skies Blue).
The album’s core studio musicians include multi-instrumentalist Thad DeBrock (Duncan Sheik, Nelly, Jonas Brothers), bassist Zev Katz (Marc Anthony, Elton John, Billy Joel), and drummer Doug Yowell (Suzanne Vega, Joe Jackson, Duncan Sheik).
Spellbound’s instrumentation features acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, synthesiser, lyrical bass lines and brushed drums.
Judy Collins recently launched a podcast Since You’ve Asked, featuring refreshingly honest conversations with guests ranging from Jeff Daniels and Clive Davis to Christiane Amanpour.
In December 2021 at New York’s Town Hall, Judy Collins returned to live performance with a concert centred on her 2019 album Winter Stories. During the pandemic shutdown of 2021, Collins streamed a concert from an empty Town Hall; a recording of the show was released digitally in August 2021 — Judy Collins: Live at The Town Hall NYC.
- Judy’s 2022 UK and European tour dates, are listed at the bottom of this page.
- Spellbound is out now (released 25th February) on CD and digital via Cleopatra Records.
- Judy Collins’ Spellbound (Limited Edition Coloured Vinyl) – Special two LP set featuring four special bonus tracks and a 16-page 11″ x 11″ booklet, housed in a gatefold jacket – available in translucent blue or translucent purple vinyl – is expected to ship June/July 2022.
- Read Judy’s Music Republic Magazine exclusive “Track Record” feature here: https://musicrepublicmagazine.com/2020/09/13393/
By Steve Best
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’
Judy Collins’ 2022 European tour dates
- August 28th 2022 Cottingham Folk Festival, UK
- August 29th 2022 Shrewsbury Folk Festival, UK
- November 5th 2022 De Roma, Antwerp, Belgium
- November 6th 2022 Tivoli Vredenburg, Hertz, Utrecht, Netherlands
- November 8th 2022 Theater am Tanzbrunnen, Cologne, Germany
- November 9th 2022 Passionskirche Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
- November 11th 2022 RNCM, Manchester, UK
- November 12th 2022 City Varieties, Leeds, UK
- November 15th 2022 St. David’s, Cardiff, UK
- November 16th 2022 Apex, Bury St. Edmunds, UK
- November 18th 2022 Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, UK
- November 19th 2022 Town Hall, Birmingham, UK
- November 21st 2022 Barbican, London, UK