Folk legend Judy Collins reflects on five-decade career before Dover-Foxcroft performance

By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff
Posted Aug. 05, 2011, at 4:42 p.m.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — There are 301 seats in the Center Theatre — some would call it a small venue. Judy Collins, a legend in American folk music who will perform there Saturday, doesn’t share that view.

“There are no small theaters, my darling,” she said in a phone interview Friday while walking down a New York City street. “There are just theaters.”

Collins has performed “many times” in Maine in the past, she said.

She’s not averse to appearing in small venues. She played at Kents Hill School’s Vivian Russell Theater and Stone Mountain Arts Center in Brownfield in May.

She has another show scheduled for Aug. 8 at Jonathan’s Restaurant in Ogunquit.

The show in Dover-Foxcroft has been sold out for about two weeks, according to the theater. Tickets went on sale July 5.

Collins is best-known for her Grammy Award-winning song “Both Sides Now” and “Send in the Clowns.” She also boosted up-and-coming artists including Leonard Cohen, who was a struggling poet before meeting Collins, to fame.

The 72-year-old’s singing and songwriting career has spanned five decades, and that only includes the years she was making records.

“I started performing when I was about 3 at my father’s concerts,” Collins said. Her father ran a radio program in Seattle, Wash., on which she often played piano. “I had a huge [performance] schedule, even as a kid in grade school.”

As a child, she performed as a classically trained pianist. She started her switch to singing and songwriting after hearing the work of folk musicians such as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, she said.

Collins’ first album, “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” was released in 1961. She has released 26 studio albums, four live albums and more than 25 compilation albums since her debut record.

“I’ve had a very long and extremely rich and diverse career,” she said.

She doesn’t plan on slowing down.

Collins is recording an audio version of her memoir, “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes,” named after a song written by Stephen Stills of Crosby, Stills and Nash about Collins, his former girlfriend.

The book tells tales of her long life in the music industry, her relationships and her battle with alcoholism.

Collins also is working on a new album, “Bohemian,” and a children’s book, “When You Wish Upon a Star.” All three of these projects will be released on Oct. 18, she said.

Collins said there is no real ultimate goal in her career. She just wants to have fun and continue to perform, record and search for new talent, she said.

“The next big goal is to have lunch, frankly,” she said. “I’m trying to have a good time, sing a good song and make some sense of what’s happening in the world.”

Retirement “isn’t in the cards,” she said. “I’m going to keep performing until they shut me up.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/08/05/news/piscataquis/folk-legend-reflects-on-five-decade-career-before-dover-foxcroft-performance/ printed on November 29, 2014