Although it's been customary for folk artists to reinterpret other musicians' songs, Joan Baez has always done so with a level of passion and empathy that has set her apart. Entering the 60th year of her career, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has announced one last tour before going into semi-retirement, and the songs she's chosen to cover on Whistle Down the Wind expertly reflect this closing of a chapter.
On this 25th LP, and first in a decade, Baez tackles tracks by some of her tried-and-true favourite artists, including Josh Ritter ("Be of Good Heart" and "Silver Blade"), Mary Chapin Carpenter ("The Things That We Are Made Of") and Joe Henry ("Civil War"), who also produced this ten-track LP. Aside from her moving rendition of little-known folk artist Zoe Mulford's "The President Sang Amazing Grace," Baez chooses songs that are close to her heart and represent her long journey, political struggles and ideals succinctly, as you can feel the passion in her crystalline voice and through beautiful finger-picking on tracks like Anohni's "Another World," Tom Waits' "Last Leaf" and Tim Eriksen's "I Wish the Wars Were All Over."
The fact that Baez hasn't recorded a song she's written in 23 years doesn't make the material on Whistle Down the Wind belong to her any less.
Order Whistle Down the Wind on vinyl via MusicVaultz. (Proper)