Legendary singer, songwriter, activist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez, will release a new album Whistle Down The Wind (Proper Records) on March 2 2018. Produced by three-time Grammy® Award winner Joe Henry and recorded over ten days of sessions in Los Angeles, Whistle Down The Wind gathers material by some of Baez’s favourite composers.
Whistle Down The Wind is Joan’s first new studio album in a decade, since 2008’s critically acclaimed, Grammy®-nominated Day After Tomorrow, which was produced by Steve Earle. Its release ignited an extraordinary decade of achievement by Joan, including: the PBS American Masters series premiere of her life story, Joan Baez: How Sweet The Sound (2009), which underscored the 50th anniversary of Joan’s debut at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. Joan’s seminal debut album of 1960 was honoured by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in 2011, which inducted it into the Grammy® Hall Of Fame; and subsequently by the Library of Congress in 2015, which selected it to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. That same year, Amnesty International bestowed its highest honour on Joan, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, in recognition of her exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights and she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in April 2017.
Record-breaking years of touring in the recent past included Joan’s first tours in three decades in both Australia (2013) and South America (2014). Joan’s 75th birthday was celebrated at New York’s Beacon Theater in January 2016, where she was joined by Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris and a host of others.
Joan’s first solo exhibition of paintings was presented in Mill Valley, CA in 2018. The collection celebrated “Mischief Makers” – portraits of risk-taking visionaries who have brought about social change through non-violent action. The entire exhibit was subsequently purchased by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and donated to Sonoma State University, where it will eventually be displayed at an envisioned new social justice learning centre on campus.
Joan Baez remains a musical force of nature of incalculable influence. She marched on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, shined a spotlight on the Free Speech Movement, took to the fields with Cesar Chavez, organized resistance to the Vietnam War, inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, saluted the Dixie Chicks for their courage to protest the Iraq war, and stood with old friend Nelson Mandela in London’s Hyde Park as the world celebrated his 90th birthday. Joan’s earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963. Thus began a tradition of mutual mentoring that continues on Whistle Down The Wind, and which will reverberate long into the future across Joan’s lifetime of recordings.
In conjunction with the new album, Joan will undertake an extensive 2018 world tour, including UK and ROI dates in March and May. Speaking of the tour, which will begin on March 2 in Stockholm, Baez says “While 2018 will be my last year of formal extended touring, I’m looking forward to being on the road with a beautiful new album about which I am truly proud. I welcome the opportunity to share this new music as well as longtime favourites with my audiences around the world.”
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‘Diamonds And Rust’ – live: