Queen of Folk still shining brightest

Joan Baez
Joan Baez
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Legendary status is too readily placed on singers’ shoulders these days.

One minute they are auditioning on a tv talent show and the next they are the next big thing.

And they are left wondering why they are on the scrap heap before they’ve reached their 30s after the public tires of them.

To find out what went wrong, or more accurately what could have gone right, they need look no further than Joan Baez.

She’s had her share of luck. She was in the right place at the right time with the right sound and the right look.

But along the way she also complemented her boundless talent with humility and a heart as big as a planet.

Fifty-plus years after she helped light the blue touch paper to the folk boom, Joan Baez is still the graceful, charming, engaging performer who stole the hearts of a generation as the Queen of Folk.

Her concerts (one heads our way this month) are showcases in how to delight an audience.

She has released more than 30 albums but it would be wrong to think of her purely as a folk singer. For her music has diversified since the 1960s, to encompass everything from pop to country and gospel.

She has also recorded songs by The Allman Brothers, Beatles, Jackson Browne, Dylan, Woody Guthrie, The Stones, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Leonard Cohen, among others. In recent years, she has championed the work of modern songwriters such as Ryan Adams and Steve Earle.

The accolades have been showered on her throughout her career – and not only for her music.

For last year, as the National Recording Academy inducted her 1960 debut LP into the Grammy Hall Of Fame, Amnesty International bestowed on her the inaugural Joan Baez Award for Outstanding Inspirational Service in the Global Fight for Human Rights.

Joan Baez is at Sheffield City Hall on Monday. Tickets are available from www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk or on 0114 2 789 789.

BRITAIN’S leading folk singer bar none, Martin Carthy will be performing a solo show at the Rock@Matlby, Wesley Centre, Blyth Road, Maltby tomorrow. For a lifetime he has been setting the standards to which many have aspired but few, if any, have matched. Trailblazing partnerships with, among others, Steeleye Span, Dave Swarbrick, his award-winning wife Norma Waterson and daughter Eliza, have shown that he is an incredibly versatile as well as talented performer. Next Friday’s guests at the club will be Karen Tweed and Kevin Dempsey.

A GREAT trio, Other Roads, will be at Chesterfield Folk Club, Club Chester, Chesterfield next Friday. The band is made up of Pete Abbott, Gregor Borland and Dave Walmisley.

SUNDAY sees a capella outfit Men In General at the Greystones, Greystones Road, Sheffield. The group features members of The Singing Sous Chefs and The Spooky Men’s Chorale and are William Coleman, Tim Cranmore, Adrian Mealing, William Tooby and Jim Howden.