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Review: Judy Collins puts on ethereal show at Joe’s Pub in New York City (Includes first-hand account)

Collins kicked off her show promptly at 7 p.m. with “Mountain Girl,” where she was able to instantly lure her audience in her set from the opening verse thanks to her rich, atmospheric voice. “Thank you,” she said, following the warm reception. “You are looking at the American Idol of 1957,” she added, prior to nothing that she loves to be here as part of her “Vanguard Residency,” which is nearing to an end.

She continued with “City of New Orleans,” she incorporated as a crowd singalong. With this song, she paid homage to Arlo Guthrie and it had a catchy mandolin solo.

“You will hear some wonderful new songs,” she said, referring to her Winter Stories album, which is officially available on Black Friday.

“Northwest Passage,” featuring neat violin solos, was simply glorious. They picked up the pace with the upbeat “One More Shot” and she went on to share the story of how she met Joni Mitchell (with a 3 a.m. phone call in the morning, where she sang “Both Sides Now” to Judy). “I find it a unique way of collecting material,” she said, jokingly.

Collins honored Joni Mitchell with her controlled and expressive version of “River,” which she released yesterday on digital providers. This rendition was able to touch her Joe’s Pub audience on an emotional level.

After a refreshing version of Jimmy Webb’s “Highwayman,” which featured soaring harmonies, Collins introduced the members of Chatham County Line, as well as her musical director, Russell Walden.

One of the highlight songs of the evening was “The Blizzard,” which she performed solo on piano, which was fantastic. During this spellbinding performance, one could hear a pin drop in Joe’s Pub, and it earned her a standing ovation.

It was followed by a stunning version of “Both Sides Now,” and a harking version of “Amazing Grace” that left everyone in goosebumps. “Thank you for coming to Joe’s Pub. Thank you for coming to see us. Thank you for supporting the artists that play here,” she said, graciously. “Remember to resist,” she added.

“The living legend, Judy Collins’ concert was a perfect blend of the classic songs such as ‘Both Sides Now’ and her rendition of ‘City of New Orleans’ with new songs from her latest Winter Stories album. Her emotional sing-along finale of ‘Amazing Grace’ left many in the audience teary-eyed. It was a great show,” Steve Bitterman exclaimed, fan and attendee.

Winter Stories is available for pre-order on Apple Music.

The Verdict

Overall, Judy Collins was magnificent at Joe’s Pub in New York City, where she proved that her voice is like fine wine, only getting better with age and experience. Jonas Fjeld and Chatham County Line were incredible in their own right, and exceptional musicians and singers all around. There were no gimmicks: only a woman and a gifted band with a natural talent that let her dynamic voice and rich storytelling do all the talking. Most importantly, Collins was a song stylist. Her live show garnered five out of five stars.

Collins is an artist that deserves to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For anybody that has any doubts, all they need to see is a highlight reel of her concert at Joe’s Pub in the heart of the Big Apple.

To learn more about folk music icon Judy Collins and her music, check out her official website and her Facebook page.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 18,000 original articles over the past 16 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a six-time consecutive "Best of Long Island" winner, and in the past three years, he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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