2008 and 2009 are landmark years for Joan Baez, respectively marking 50 years since she began her legendary residency at Boston’s famed Club 47 and 50 years since she made her debut at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She remains a musical force of nature whose influence is incalculable – marching on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, inspiring Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, singing on the first Amnesty International tour and just this year, standing alongside Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London’s Hyde Park. She brought the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight, took to the fields with Cesar Chavez, organized resistance to the war in Southeast Asia, then forty years later saluted the Dixie Chicks for their courage to protest war. Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963 and focused awareness on songwriters ranging from Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Phil Ochs, Richard Fariña, and Tim Hardin, to Kris Kristofferson and Mickey Newbury, to Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Steve Earle and many more. Amongst the many honors bestowed upon her, she has most recently been the recipient of the highly prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, the greatest honor that the Recording Academy can bestow (2007) and in 2008, she . received the Spirit of Americana Free Speech Award at the Americana Music Association’s 7th annual awards show in Nashville. The honor recognizes and celebrates artists who have ignited discussion and challenged the status quo through their music and actions.” Day After Tomorrow, her first new studio album in five years (released September 9, 2008) has been praised by critics and was nominated for a Grammy award.
Monday, July 13, 2009 | 8:00 pm