Judy Collins

Last evening I was front row at the Judy Collins performance at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, Colorado. She was amazing in every way. She looked astonishingly fit and beautiful for 70+ years. She told wonderful stories that took us on a musical journey of her life--and mine. When I was 16 years old, my boyfriend broke up with me by giving me her Wildflowers album and instructing me to listen to the last cut -- Leonard Cohen's "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye."

In truth that December day in 1968 was a perfect ending that led to a new beginning for me. It opened the door for me to visualize a female singer/pianist combination with grace and beauty, someone who could sing anything she wanted -- write beautiful songs and pick the very best songs of others to cover. That desire became the basis of my career.

Through her I learned about Joni Mitchell and Cohen and Ian Tyson and Jacque Brel and a host of others. Her politics affected mine, despite the diversity of our lives and my relative isolation in West Texas. Those politics remain at the core of who I am today, and I am so grateful to her for giving me a a different perspective. All the while she always seemed to me to have such beauty and grace and strength of character. I was and am still amazed by her talent. Last night her voice was pure and sweet and strong. My heart was captured yet again and she sang new ones (a lovely one about her mother) and some of my favorites -- Since You Asked (her own and her first!) and Both Sides Now (Mitchell).

It was a lovely evening.

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