A note on Joan Baez.

Sometimes one finds an artist and wonders, “why has it taken me so long to find this person?”


The aforementioned musician is one of these examples. For the past few days, I have been immersed in her record, Come from the Shadows.

What strikes me about Joan’s music is her ability to tell a compelling story with absolute clarity. This simplicity is hard won. How many times have you heard a song and struggled to discern the words? Or,  lyric book in hand, struggled to make sense of the soggy nonsense on the page?

`Prison Trilogy’ is a masterful example of this. It weaves three stories into one song, while commenting on incarceration and race/immigration issues. Also, the melody is delectable.

She is well known for being overtly radical. This also extends to subtle matters, such as not changing the gender on cover songs. See the incredible `Rainbow Road’ for an example.

This is a technique that Patti Smith adopted. For the time, and indeed for now, it’s a subversive method.

I very much look forward to exploring her discography more. And also watching, and reading, her interviews. She seems like an excellent artist to be lead by.

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