Whistle Down the Wind

Whistle Down the Wind

by Joan BaezJoan Baez


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Joan Baez has as estimable a legacy as anyone who emerged in American folk music from 1960 onward, but sometimes a powerful legacy can be as much a burden as an asset. While she's enjoyed a long and eclectic career that's spanned six decades, to many Baez will always be the earnest, crystal-voiced activist she was in the early to mid-'60s, and much of her career since has been devoted to honoring what was good about her formative years without being chained to her past. Whistle Down the Wind, released in 2018 as Baez was beginning what she pledged would be her last major concert tour, is the work of an autumnal Joan Baez, but also one who hasn't turned her back on her music or her principles. The glorious soprano notes of Baez's glory days are clearly out of reach for her here, but her phrasing remains thoughtful and emotionally strong, and if her voice isn't quite what it once was, it's still lovely and full of authority. The mood of these ten songs (which include compositions by Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Anohni, and Mary Chapin Carpenter) is generally downbeat and sometimes doleful, but Baez fills her performances with strength and commitment that are impressive in their quiet defiance. In songs like "The President Sang Amazing Grace" and "I Wish the Wars Were All Over," Baez makes clear she's still committed to a better world without attaching herself to polemics that will be dated in ten years. And the production by Joe Henry is superb, matching Baez's vocals with subtle but simpatico accompaniment from a studio band that knows how to shine while making room for the protagonist. Whistle Down the Wind is a portrait of an artist who, at the age of 77, has not given up on her muse or her ideals, and while it's subtle, it's also a deeply moving piece of work that demands attention.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/02/2018
Label: Concord Records
UPC: 0888072048058
catalogNumber: 00028
Rank: 8636


  1. Whistle Down the Wind
  2. Be of Good Heart
  3. Another World
  4. Civil War
  5. The Things That We Are Made Of
  6. The President Sang Amazing Grace
  7. Last Leaf
  8. Silver Blade
  9. The Great Correction
  10. I Wish the Wars Were All Over

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joan Baez   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Mark Goldenberg   Gut String Guitar
Greg Leisz   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Mandocello,Guitar (12 String Acoustic),Weissenborn
David Piltch   Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Patrick Warren   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Pump Organ,Tack Piano
Jay Bellerose   Drums
John Smith   Acoustic Guitar
Tyler Chester   Organ,Piano
Janeen Rae Heller   Saw
Gabriel Harris   Percussion

Technical Credits

Eliza Gilkyson   Composer
Tom Waits   Composer
Kathleen Brennan   Composer
Mary Chapin Carpenter   Composer
Norman Moore   Art Direction
Ryan Freeland   Engineer
Tim Eriksen   Composer
Josh Ritter   Composer
Zoe Mulford   Composer
Anohni   Composer
Stewart Volland   Photo Assistance
Joe Henry   Composer,Producer

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