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Folk music may be regionally derived, but it’s always universally resonant. Case in point the folk album Winter Stories, to be released November 29th, a comfy collection of seasonal and emotionally evocative songs by an unlikely gathering of artists. The album lineup boasts the triple threat of iconic folk singer-songwriter Judy Collins, critically-acclaimed Norwegian folk artist Jonas Fjeld, and masterful bluegrass band Chatham County Line.
“I knew Jonas and Chatham County Line would be a great fit with me,” Judy says. “The language of music overarches everything, including geography. When we came together in the studio, we found we could speak to each other in a way that was compatible and nuanced.” Jonas adds: “What bonded us was a shared love of great songs.”
In February 2019, Judy, Jonas, and CCL (Chatham County Line) headed down to vibey Echo Mountain Studios—a former stately church—in Ashville, North Carolina. Prior to this, the three artists knew each other tangentially, but never officially worked together in this context. Jonas is a beloved Norwegian artist who might be best known internationally for his 1990s trio Danko/Fjeld/Andersen, featuring The Band’s Rick Danko. Since 2005, Jonas has toured and recorded three albums with CCL. In 2014, Judy recorded Jonas’s sublime track “Angels In The Snow.”
The artists had three days of rehearsal and preproduction in which they picked the album’s core songs from a list of 20 potential seasonally-themed tunes. “I’m a winter guy—in my part of the world its winter 7 months of the year,” Jonas says, laughing. He adds: “Winter is a wonderful time to be close to the ones you love.” From there, Judy, Jonas, and CCL, tracked album basics in a few days of fun and freewheeling recording sessions. Judy recalls: “We would gather around tell stories and exchange histories—that exchange is very much a part of the folk tradition.”
The resulting album, Winter Stories, is a collection of classics, new tunes, and a few surprises, featuring spirited lead vocal turns, breathtaking duets, and Judy’s stunning harmony singing. “Learning songs is fundamental to my core being—it’s always an adventure to peek behind the curtain to understand what the writer went through,” Judy adds.
Select album standouts include Judy evergreens “The Blizzard” and “Mountain Girl,” a re-recording of Jonas’s poignant “Angels In The Snow,” and a stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “The River.” “The Blizzard” was originally written as a 7-minute opus, but later truncated for the album on which it appeared. On Winter Stories, fans can finally hear it recorded in its full majesty. The artists also cherry-picked songs they’ve longed to record throughout the years, including Jimmy Webb’s “The Highwaymen,” which Judy has performed live with Stephen Stills, and Stan Rodger’s “North West Passage.” For the sessions, Jonas contributed the newly-penned “Frozen North,” and the stunning title track which features the masterful vocal interlace of Judy and Jonas.
In the fall of 2019, Judy, Jonas, and CCL will perform select Winter Stories-themed shows and tours internationally. Reflecting on the sessions, Judy says: “I was very honored to work with this all-star group—there was definitely a lot of love and admiration between everyone, and we had such a great time together.” Jonas chimes in: “I’m from a remote country, and suddenly I’m playing with Judy Collins who I’ve been a huge fan of since the 1970s! I keep having to pinch myself.”
These performances are presented as part of Judy Collins' 2019 Vanguard Award and Residency at Joe's Pub.
Doors at 6PM
Show at 7PM