Joan Baez’ brand new release Whistle Down the Wind (Bobolink/Razor & Tie Records) is a delightful collection of interpretations of songs by Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Joe Henry, Anohni, Zoe Mulford, and more. Produced by Joe Henry (Bonnie Raitt, Bettye LaVette, Emmylou Harris) with a method that Baez describes as “winging it,” the pair took the songs apart and rebuilt them again into brand new shiny things of glory.
“The President Sang Amazing Grace” by Zoe Mulford is really a song that captures a poignant national memory and the actual sight of witnessing the President of the United States singing “Amazing Grace” after the senseless shooting in Charleston. “Whistle Down the Wind,” the title track by Tom Waits, is a song that Baez notes speaks to her heart, and we couldn’t agree more. Joe Henry’s “Civil War,” is, as Baez says, bursting with emotion. “The Last Leaf,” another by Waits, is also ripe with poignancy. The clear acoustic tones carry the album like a harpsichord in spring.
Josh Ritter’s ‘Silver Blade” sounds like an Irish folk song in Baez’s hands. “I Wish the Wars Were All Over” (Tim Eriksen) by is a hopeful song, which is a fitting choice for Baez, who at 76 has spent several decades fighting for social justice. Participating for change during the Civil Rights Era, including singing at the 1963 march on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr; through work with Cesar Chavez, Amnesty International and the Innocence Project, more recently joining with the Standing Rock Sioux against the oil pipeline.
Baez is embarking on here “Fare Thee Well” tour this fall on September 11, beginning in Ithaca, NY. With your tickets, you get a free CD or digital download! You do not want to miss this. Get your tickets here.