HARWICH ─ Judy Collins is well aware that, given the country's current political climate, tensions are high. She hopes her music will help, and she's bringing her best to her Dec. 19 concert at Monomoy Regional High School.
“It will be me singing everything I know,” said the award winning singer-songwriter. There will be Sondheim, 'Both Sides Now,' a lot of my hits.”
Collins has been a beloved folk songstress since the 1960s, when she first garnered acclaim for her rendition of “Both Sides Now,” written by fellow folk musician Joni Mitchell. That single, off her album “Wildflowers,” won Collins her first Grammy Award and set the proverbial stage for future success.
“All I know is that I sing what I love and if I don't love it I won't sing it,” Collins said while wrapping Christmas gifts during a phone interview from her New York home.
Not one to hold back, Collins weighed in on the political.
“It's hysterical and terrifying, and upsetting beyond belief,” she said.
It is her hope, especially given the tumult in today's world, that her Cape Cod concert offers a bit of soothing for the soul.
“I think music is healing, and I think music gives people a chance to think,” Collins said. “It gives people some peace of mind for a little while to think through their options.”
Collins said that what brings her solace is continuing to create music with the goal of lifting people's spirits.
“I'm an artist, so I will continually be challenged to be creative. I make a living at it, I love doing it, so why not? What else would I do? What other choice do I have? I'm not a banker or a baker, so I have to do what I do for a living, and practice making people feel better,” she said. “I think that's what art is about, making people feel better.”
Though Collins is a master songwriter, she does have a soft spot for Sondheim, releasing “A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim” this year, which features the favorites “I'm Still Here,” “Anyone Can Whistle,” and the song that truly cemented Collins' stardom, “Send in the Clowns.”
She'll also include her new song “River of Gold,” as well as “The Blizzard.”
“I love 'The Blizzard,'” said Collins. “I sing it a lot.”
Just don't assume that Collins has a favorite tune.
“The one I sing at the moment is my favorite,” she said.
Bringing her music to Cape Cod is a thrill and something Collins is looking forward to.
“I love Cape Cod,” she said. “I don't vacation on Cape Cod but my vacation is go to and sing for the people on the Cape.”
It might surprise fans to learn that aside from music, Collins is something of a history buff.
“I love history. They'd be surprised I read more history than mystery. The most recent book I've read is the book about Grant, which is thrilling,” said Collins. “I'm trying to remember everything that happens. Trying to get educated about the planet and the world. Trying to figure out why people aren't learning from the past.”
Collins said she has been inspired by Roosevelt's passage of Social Security and the WPA (Works Progress Administration) “and all the things that brought us out of the Depression.”
“People's lives were being saved. Jobs were being created. The country was being restored,” she said. “That's not a bad place to be.”
With that in mind, Collins is looking forward to offering her audience an uplifting Dec. 19 event in Harwich.
“I hope they get a lift, give a laugh, and have the courage to go on for another day,” she said. “I love my work. It drives me and makes me happy. I'm delighted that I'm going to be there and feel extremely privileged that I can still do this after all these years.”
An Evening With Judy Collins will be held Dec. 19 at Monomoy Regional High School. Tickets range from $30 to $90 and are available online at judyonthecape.brownpapertickets.com. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.