The Washington Post

On the Spot: Judy Collins



Judy Collins has been thinking a lot about the ’60s this year. In her upcoming memoir, “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music,” and on her new solo album, “Bohemian” (both out Oct. 18), the folk singer recalls the tumultuous decade in great detail.

The new book and the new album revisit the ’60s. What was it like to go back to that time?
It was very exciting. I was always in the center of that swirling ’60s experience, both singing other people’s songs or sometimes writing my own. [For the album,] I wanted to choose a very small number of songs that would gravitate the mind to that period, but it’s past, present and future, because the new songs are geared to what’s been happening in my life of late.

What inspired “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes,” especially after eight previous memoirs?
I was inspired when I read Steve Martin’s book “Born Standing Up.” I realized the foundation of my career, after studying the piano and playing with orchestras, was working the clubs all over the country. I realized I had never really talked about how that fed into my longevity and my education about performing.

Are there any big bombshells in “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes”?
Oh, yes, there are. But you have to read the book. I think [the ’60s are] an interesting time to write a book of this personal and reflective nature. It was a time of very intense attenuation of action and experience. We were waking up from a dream in the ’60s, and it was not easy to wake up, especially with all the drugs we were taking.

How does your new children’s book, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” fit in?
It’s an effort [by Collins and artist Eric Puybaret] to get young children involved in music that was important to us. We’d like to have it be important to them, too.

Wolf Trap, Filene Center, 1551 Trap Road, Vienna; Thu., 8 p.m., $22-$75; 877-965-3872, Wolftrap.org.

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