Still dreaming: Icon Judy Collins returns to Honokaa People’s Theatre

  • Legendary folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins will be performing at the Honokaa People's Theatre on Saturday. (Blues Bear Hawaii/Courtesy Photo)

KAILUA-KONA — 2018 was a busy year for legendary folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins.

The 79-year-old music icon released the single “Dreamers” in July, followed by the release of the new album “Everybody Knows” with Stephen Stills in September. And now she’s ringing in the new year the same way she started 2018. At 7 p.m. Saturday, Collins will once again be performing at Honokaa People’s Theatre in Honokaa, as the final stop in a three-concert tour of Hawaii.

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Collins has performed annually in Honokaa the past few years, a winter break for the longtime New York resident before she begins yet another year of performing and recording.

“I’ve been coming to Hawaii since 1967, so I’ve performed there over the years a number of times,” Collins said. “I love it, and it’s a big change for us. It’s beautiful, the people are wonderful and the audiences are terrific. I love being there.”

Collins has been performing since she was a child, first by singing in choirs and on her father’s radio show, and by playing the piano with orchestras starting at the age of 13. She discovered her true calling of folk music when she was 15, and learned to play the guitar.

“And I was one of the lucky ones because I started early,” Collins said. “So I got in when it was all kind of beginning and started singing in the clubs right away, in Colorado and then was all over the country and subsequently all over the world. I was very fortunate.”

She moved to New York from Colorado in her early 20s, where she surrounded herself with many famous singer-songwriters of the day in Greenwich Village. Her big breakthrough came in 1967 with the release of the album “Wildflowers.” She won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance for the song “Both Sides Now,” which was written by the then-unknown Joni Mitchell.

The songs from her newest album with Stephen Stills, “Everybody Knows,” will be featured at her Hawaii concerts this weekend.

“We wanted to do a combination of some of our classic repertoire, so we sang ‘Suite: Judy Blue Eyes’ and we do some of Stills’ songs and some of my songs,” Collins said. “It was a very interesting exploration, and one of my new songs got on the album, called ‘River of Gold,’ which I will definitely sing in Hawaii.”

Collins will also perform her new song “Dreamers,” as well as some of her classic hits such as “Send in the Clowns” and “Amazing Grace.” Collins has performed over 100 concerts in the past two years, and she isn’t slowing down any time soon.

“I think touring has it’s own advantages and it’s disadvantages,” Collins said. “I think in almost 60 years of traveling, I think there might have been in that whole time maybe half a dozen times I’ve ever canceled. You’re essentially getting paid for the travel.”

She said she’s always working on something new, and she has two projects slated to record this year, in February and later in the spring.

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“It’s a mystery to me,” Collins said of her motivation to continue performing. “You never know what’s going to happen. You just keep doing what you love — that’s the secret.”

Info: Tickets for Judy Collins at Honokaa People’s Theatre on Saturday are $75/$50 and can be purchased at bluesbearhawaii.com, by calling 896-4845 or by visiting Kona Music Exchange, Kiernan Music, Waimea General Store, Topstitch – Honokaa, Hilo Ukulele &Guitar and Hilo Music Exchange. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

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