Judy Collins is always looking to do something different, whether she is tackling a collection of songs by Stephen Sondheim or a duets project. She continues that path with the 2017 release of the album, “Stills & Collins,” her collaboration with Stephen Stills.
The singers perform in concert at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton on Monday, June 11.
“The past five years have been a very productive time for me,” Collins said recently from a tour stop in Napa Valley. “I supposed there must be something happening in the stars but you have to be adaptable and I always have been. I’ve always been writing and singing. I’m always coming up with new ideas, and that has paid off for me.”
Collins launched her professional music career as a socially conscious folk singer in 1959. The Colorado native scored Top 10 singles such as “Send in the Clowns,” “Amazing Grace” and “Both Sides, Now.” Collins has a long history with Stills, who was as a member of Buffalo Springfield in the mid-’60s before forming Crosby, Stills and Nash in 1968.
Collins and Stills were not just musical contemporaries, but one-time lovers who have remained friends. He wrote the Crosby, Stills and Nash Top 40 hit, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” about her. Despite their long history, the two musicians had never collaborated on a major project together until “Stills & Collins.”
“We’ve been friends for years and we talked this over for a long time,” she said. “We tried to figure out what we might sing. We’ve come up with a good selection and we’re doing it. We went through a lot of decisions of what we should be singing and came up with the things that felt best.
“We always look for great songs,” Collins continued. “That’s the key. The real driving force is great songs and wherever they are, they can be suggested or we can think of them, but what we settle on is great songs that are appropriate for us to sing and feel good in the voice. We’ve done that with the material on this album.”
Collins has enjoyed her time performing with her old friend.
“It’s a great privilege to be doing this with Stephen,” she said. “He is a genius and a brilliant guitarist and I get to hear him live every night. It’s not bad. We have a ball. We’re really cooking and the music is tight. The songs are great. We’re adding other things so we have alternatives. It’s such fun.”
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