Iconic singer-songwriter Judy Collins will play at The Criterion Theatre on July 13. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CRITERION THEATRE

Collins to take Criterion Stage

BAR HARBOR — At 79, Judy Collins is 50 albums and 51 years into a remarkable recording and performing career. And she’s not slowing down.

The legendary American singer and songwriter will perform at The Criterion Theatre on Friday, July 13, at 8 p.m.

“Collins continues to produce new work and tour the world,” concert organizers said. “Her luminescent presence shines brightly as new generations bask in the glow of her iconic 50-album body of work and heed inspiration from the discipline that has allowed her to thrive in the music industry for half a century.”

The planned concert follows last year’s sold-out performance at the Criterion by David Crosby. Collins’ most recent record was a collaboration with Crosby’s former bandmate Stephen Stills, called “Everybody Knows.”

Stills and Collins first met in 1967 and dated for two years, a romance that was immortalized in Stills’ “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” which would later become a hit for Crosby, Still & Nash.

The duo covers Leonard Cohen for the title, replacing the eerie electronic instrumentation in Cohen’s version with slow and somber folk rock, held together by Stills’ guitar solos.

The opening track on “Everybody Knows” is “Handle with Care,” a cover of the Traveling Wilburys’ popular hit.

Back in 1961 with her debut “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” Collins adopted a tradition folk instrumentation, recording the album with just her voice over sparse acoustic instruments. Transitioning into multiple other genres over the last 50 years, she’s recently refined a full sound, producing polished folk-rock arrangements with a lush full backing band. Her acoustic guitars now play alongside a full rhythm section, bright organs and crunchy electric guitars.

Although most new music from Collins in the 2010’s has been with a full band, she has not fully left behind the acoustic ballad. Songs performed with simply voice and piano have found their way on to most of her recent albums and live performances.

In 2017, she even released an album entirely performed with voice and solo piano, “A Love Letter To Stephen Sondheim,” which included 10 covers of the musical theater icon.

“Collins has inspired audiences with sublime vocals, boldly vulnerable songwriting, personal life triumphs and a firm commitment to social activism,” organizers said. “In the 1960s, she evoked both the idealism and steely determination of a generation united against social and environmental injustices.”

Opening the show at the Criterion will be Ari Hest, who recorded a duet album with Collins in 2016 called “Silver Skies Blue.”

The record contains a mix of new compositions, and reworked fan favorites from both artists. The title track is an intimate take on a rock instrumentation, replacing a full drum kit with just a shaker. Reverberated guitars provide a bed for the delicate duo vocals.

The album was Grammy nominated for Best Folk Album, which was Collin’s first Grammy nomination in more than forty years.

Hest first attracted a loyal following in the early 2000’s, and released two albums with Columbia Records, “Someone To Tell” in 2004 and “The Break-In” 2007.

“I think we’re going to sell out to the very last seat.” said Amy Roeder, the Criterion’s executive director.

She is proud that the Criterion is able to host a mix of world-renowned names such as Collins, she said, as well as local names that represent the community. “We have heard from some artists who have wanted to come here specifically because it’s Bar Harbor, which is wonderful.”

In May, Roeder said, when comedian Jay Mohr performed at the Criterion, he “liked Bar Harbor so much that he stayed an extra day. It was a lovely little pat on the back for the local community.”

After her stop at the Criterion Theater, Collins will perform at Aura in Portland on July 14th. Her tour will continue until Dec. 14th, when she will play the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, in Bethel, N.Y.

Balcony and front center orchestra tickets cost $75.50, premium orchestra tickets cost $65.50, and general orchestra tickets cost $40.50.


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