PALM DESERT — Folk-music legend Judy Collins, with special guest Kirsten Maxwell, will perform at the McCallum Theatre at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, thanks to the generosity of Avenida Palm Desert.
In the 1960s, Judy Collins evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices. Five decades later, her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 55-album body of work—and heed inspiration from her spiritual discipline to thrive in the music industry for half a century.
The award-winning singer-songwriter is esteemed for her imaginative interpretations of traditional and contemporary folk standards and her own poetically poignant original compositions. Her stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now,” from her landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Collins’ dreamy and sweetly intimate version of “Send in the Clowns,” a ballad written by Stephen Sondheim for the Broadway musical A Little Night Music, won Song of the Year at the 1975 Grammy Awards. She’s garnered several Top 10 hits as well as gold- and platinum-selling albums. In 2008, contemporary and classic artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Shawn Colvin, Dolly Parton, Joan Baez and Leonard Cohen honored her legacy with the album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.
Collins began her impressive music career at 13 as a piano prodigy dazzling audiences performing Mozart, but the hard-luck tales and rugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger seduced her away from a life as a concert pianist. In 1961, she released her masterful debut, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, which featured interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. This began a wonderfully fertile 35-year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. Up to the present, she has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with critically acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule.
In June 2016, Collins released a collaborative album, Silver Skies Blue, with writing partner Ari Hest. Silver Skies Blue earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Folk Album in 2017—her first Grammy nomination in more than 40 years.
Collins’ most recent collaboration is the 2019 album Winter Stories, including critically acclaimed Norwegian folk artist Jonas Fjeld, and masterful bluegrass band Chatham County Line. Winter Stories is a collection of classics, new tunes and a few surprises, featuring spirited lead vocal turns, breathtaking duets and Collins’ stunning harmony singing.
Special guest Kirsten Maxwell is a New York-raised singer, songwriter and artist who was just was 5 years old when she made her stage debut. Born into a family of opera singers, she performed a number of roles at the Amato Opera in New York, including the First Spirit in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. With support and encouragement from her musical parents, Maxwell continued to develop her talents into high school, where she embraced musical theater and took up the guitar. By college, Maxwell was writing songs and laying the foundation for an ever-expanding musical career. She’s opened for Melissa Etheridge, country star Tanya Tucker, Americana/rock duo The Bacon Brothers, and renowned comedian Robert Klein. Maxwell has also shared the stage with the great Paul Shaffer, who brought a gorgeous piano accompaniment to her rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You.”
- Judy Collins: McCallum Theatre