Proper Records [Release date 02.03.18]
Joan Baez made her live debut back in 1959 at the Newport Folk Festival and now she is starting to wind down her career, touring wise at least as 2018 marks her last year of extended touring. That won’t stop Joan Baez being involved in the musical and political arenas, as last year she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
‘Whistle Down The Wind’ is her first new album since 2008′s ‘Day After Tomorrow’ and it is produced by Joe Henry, whose own composition ‘Civil War’ features on this album. I am not sure who plays on the album, however the subtle organ on ‘Be Good Of Heart’ and piano on the aforementioned ‘Civil War’ underpin Joan’s vocals wonderfully.
All the song are by other writers including Tom Waits and Josh Ritter, although the stand out in the album is ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace’, by relative unknown Zoe Mulford. The haunting vocals, piano, gentle drum rolls and lyrics – a poignant tale of current ills in the US - all work so well. ‘Last Leaf’ could easily apply to Joan Baez, one of the last of the 60′s folk protest singer songwriters and again what a marvellous vocal, capture so crisp and cleanly by the production of Joe Henry.
Joan Baez may be stopping touring, however musically she is still in fine spirit and singing form. A wonderful listen from start to finish. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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