Monday, August 25, 2008

Judy Collins at Britt

Judy Collins sang last night at the Britt Festival in Jacksonville, Oregon. Dar Williams also performed.

It was a wonderful night for a folk concert under the stars at the Britt Gardens in Jacksonville. We got there at 5:30 p.m. about 15 minutes before they opened the gates to the Britt Gardens. There were about 50 people ahead of us. As we sat on a stone wall waiting for them to open the gates we could hear Judy Collins warming up for the concert. When we go in we found a good location in the area where we could set up our green folding Oregon Duck chairs. My wife had fixed us a picnic dinner and we ate and enjoyed people watching. People come early to have fancy picnics on the lawn. Many bring fancy wines or purchase it there from a vendor. For desert I stopped by the Rotary booth and bought some delicious chocolate cake which we shared. I also went by the "Performer Merchandise" booth and bought a Judy Collins CD titled "Judy Collins Sings Lennon & McCartney." The weather was perfect not too hot nor too cold and there was no smoke from forest fires. You could feel the end of summer in the air. For Britt it was a smaller crowd and so it was not too crowded.

At 7:30 p.m. Dar Williams was the first performer. She sang only accompanied by her guitar and has a sweet voice and a quirky personality. She reminded me a little bit of Gilda Radner and I loved her music. She sings folk music that tells a story. I particularly enjoyed her song about her babysitter from her youth in the 1970's. I have never heard her before and she was a very pleasant surprise. She has recoded a number of albums and I plan on getting one of her CD's in the near future.

After intermission, as it was getting very dark, Judy Colling came out to sing. She is now almost 70 years old but she till has a wonderful voice that is as clear as ever. I watched her through my binoculars and she does look her age but most of us would love to look like that at 70. She sang a lot of songs and interspersed them with lengthy dialogs about her life. She talked about going to New York in the early 1960's and the "folk scene" there and meeting a guy named Bob Dylan. She talked about her high school group, her father, and the history of some of her songs. Sometimes she seemed to ramble on and was somethings somewhat cryptic with her references. It helped to know about her biography and the history of folk music for the last 50 years. She sang "My Father" and "Chelsea Morning" as well as "Norwegian Wood" and "Blackbird" from her newest album. She was only accompanied by a pianist and her own guitar. At the end of the concert she took over the piano and sang several songs. The Britt Festival has a 10:30 p.m. curfew at the request of it's neighbors so she had to cut short her concert. I had the feeling she wanted to go on and would have sung some of her big hits. She seemed to gather steam with as the concert progressed and was really going strong when she was told about the curfew.

All and all a perfect night as the Summer of 08 starts winding down.