Judy Collins and Richard Thompson



Tanglewood (297 West St., Lenox, MA 01240, Lenox MA)

Folk legend Judy Collins, an icon and singer-songwriter since the 1960s, and rock-folk legend Richard Thompson, one of Rolling Stone’s ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,’ perform at Tanglewood.

Judy Collins has inspired audiences with clear vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting and a firm commitment to social activism since the 1960s, when she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices.

Powered by evocative songcraft, jaw-dropping guitar playing and indefinable spirit, Richard Thompson counts a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association in Nashville, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BBC Awards among his many honors.

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Judy Collins is known 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 landmark 1967 album, Wildflowers, has been entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Her 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, and recently contemporary and classic artists from Rufus Wainwright to Shawn Colvin, Dolly a tribute album.

She began her music career at 13 as a piano prodigy, performing Mozart’s “Concerto for Two Pianos,” but theugged sensitivity of folk revival music by artists like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger led her to a lifelong love affair with the guitar and pursuit of truth in lyrics.

In 1961, she released her debut, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, with interpretative works of social poets of the time such as Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs,and Tom Paxton. She was living in the thriving Greenwich Village folk community, collaborating with singer-songwriters for a national audience, including poet/musician Leonard Cohen and musicians Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman, and she performs today as a vital artist with critically acclaimed albums and robust performances

In 2011, Richard Thompson earned an OBE (Order of the British Empire) personally bestowed upon him by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, and Time included his anthem, 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, on their 100 Greatest Songs Since 1923 list.

Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy produced Thompson’s 2015 album, Still, which earned recognition from Pitchfork, The Guardian, Rolling Stone and more, and Werner Herzog tapped him for the soundtrack to Grizzly Man.His influence is wide-ranging — he launched his career by co-founding the rock outfit Fairport Convention, responsible for igniting a British Folk Rock movement, and everyong from Robert Plant, Don Henley and Elvis Costello to REM, Sleater-Kinney and David Byrne has covered his music.

Folk rock legend Richard Thompson will perform at Tanglewood. Press photo courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra
Richard Thompson

Folk rock legend Richard Thompson will perform at Tanglewood. Press photo courtesy of the Boston Symphony Orchestra

In 2017, Thompson began composing ideas for what would become the album 13 Rivers at his California home.

“I wrote the songs as a group to hang together,” he ayss. “They belong together in some way and seem to possess a commonality since they were written in the same time and space.”

To capture this vision, he retreated to the famed Boulevard Recording Studio in Los Angeles. Known previously as “The Producers Workshop” and once owned by Liberace and his manager, the locale served as the site for seminal classics by Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac, Ringo Starr, and Joan Baez. It also hosted the mixing sessions for Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This marked the first time Thompson self-produced in more thn a decade and he opted to track analog in just ten days. Michael Jerome, Taras Prodaniuk and Bobby Eichorn joined him on percussion, bass and guitar.

“It’s a funky studio that was quite popular in the sixties and seventies,” Thompson says. “It used to be Hollywood trendy, but it fell into total disrepair. It’s still got some gaps in the walls. I like studios that are honest. It’s about the décor of the sound, and there’s a specific sound to Boulevard. Clay is a Beatles nut, so I could grab a Gretsch off the wall or dial into an amp that had this unbelievable tone reminiscent of The Beatles. They also say Liberace’s ghost still haunts the place, but I hadn’t seen him.”