Showbiz Nation LIVE! Interview with JUDY COLLINS

Michael J. Roberts & Barbara Fitos interview music legend JUDY COLLINS and discuss her music, books and inspirations. Through the generosity of Jerry and Sarah Mathews, the McCallum Theater presents Judy Collins on Thursday, February 25 , at 8:00pm.


Judy Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, personal life triumphs, and a commitment to social activism. In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and 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 50-album body of work, and heed inspiration from her 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 rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” from her 1967 album Wildflowers has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Judy’s 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 Top Ten hits and Gold- and Platinum-selling albums. 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.

Judy began her music career at 13 as a piano prodigy, 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 life as a concert pianist. Her path pointed to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of emotional truth in lyrics. The focus and regimented practice of classical music, however, would be a source of strength to her inner core as she navigated the highs and lows of the music business.

In 1961, she released her 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 thirty-five year creative relationship with Jac Holzman and Elektra Records. Around this time Judy became a tastemaker within the Greenwich Village folk community and brought other singer-songwriters to a wider audience, including Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman.

Throughout the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and up to the present, she has remained a vital artist, enriching her catalog with acclaimed albums while balancing a robust touring schedule. In 2015, Judy released her first studio album in four years, Strangers Again. She invited a cast of icons and young talents to sing with her, from Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne and Jeff Bridges to Glen Hansard, Ari Hest and Bhi Bhiman. In Strangers Again, Judy delicately soars over a revitalized “Send in the Clowns” and breathes new life into “Hallelujah.”

In 2012 she released the CD/DVD Judy Collins Live at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This PBS special was nominated for a New York Emmy and won a Bronze Medal at the 2013 New York Festival International Television & Film Awards. Based on its success, in 2014, she filmed another show, Live in Ireland, at Dromoland Castle. This program also won a Bronze Medal at the 2014 New York Festival International Television & Film Awards and aired on PBS in 2014 and 2015.

Judy has authored several books, including the powerful and inspiring Sanity Grace. In her 2012 memoir Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music, she reached deeply inside and, with unflinching candor, recalled her turbulent childhood, rise to fame, romance with Stephen Stills, victories over depression and alcoholism, her redemption through a healthy and stable lifestyle, and finding true love with Louis Nelson, her partner of more than 30 years.

In addition, Judy remains a social activist, representing UNICEF and numerous other causes. She is the director (along with Jill Godmillow) of an Academy Award-nominated film, Antonia Brico ‐ Portrait of a Woman, about the first woman to conduct major symphonies around the world, and Judy’s classical piano teacher when she was young.

Judy Collins is as creatively vigorous as ever, writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing talent. She is a modern day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished filmmaker, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.

Through the generosity of Jerry and Sarah Mathews, the McCallum Theater presents Judy Collins on Thursday, February 25, at 8:00pm. Tickets are priced at $77, $57, $47 and $27 and are available online at or by calling the McCallum Theatre Box Office at (760) 340-2787 or. McCallum Theatre, located at 73000 Fred Waring Drive, Palm Desert CA 92260, accepts payment by cash, personal check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.