Synopses & Reviews
Fifty years after her stunning debut at the Newport Folk Festival, Joan Baez remains a musical force of nature whose influence is incalculable. Her voice is part of the soundtrack of a generation, and her commitment to social justice helped form its conscience. She marched on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, sang on the first Amnesty International tour, and stood alongside Nelson Mandela on his ninetieth birthday in London's Hyde Park. She brought the '60s Free Speech Movement into the spotlight, organized resistance to the war in Southeast Asia, and forty years later saluted the Dixie Chicks for their courage to protest war. Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, and she unself-consciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963 in an effort to bring attention to songwriters that continues to this day.
Hers is a journey of the spirit, told with intimacy and passion as Baez shares her introduction to folk music and her baptism as its first female star in the coffee houses of Cambridge, Massachusetts. She recounts her musical and personal entwinement with Bob Dylan; her marriage to David Harris, and their painful breakup; and the joy she found upon the birth of her son, Gabriel.
With a new introduction by acclaimed music critic Anthony DeCurtis, And a Voice to Sing With is the story of an American cultural icon. Marked by the openness and vulnerability that have touched us in her music, and the passion and integrity that have informed her politics, this is a disarmingly frank and stirring memoir of the life and work of one of the most extraordinary performers of our time.
"[A]n eyewitness' testimony of watching -- indeed, making -- cultural history. Eloquent and compassionate, Joan Baez has stunned millions with the purity of her voice; she has also acted unwaveringly on her non-party-line beliefs, and it's fitting that her memoir would offer its own share of provocation." -- Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe
"[A] revealing autobiography...[H]er honesty and ideals are appealing, and in her life story one can see the passage of an artistic Everyman." -- Barbara Goldsmith, The New York Times Book Review
Folk music legend Joan Baez's disarmingly frank, moving, and warmly funny memoir of her loves, beliefs, and music.
• The perfect time for a reissue: In October 2009, PBS will air a ninety-minute primetime special on Joan Baez as part of the Emmy Award-winning American Masters series. Told often from Baez’s perspective, but supported by a rich performance and historical archive, the documentary centers on her career as a musician, power as an artist, those who influenced her, and those she championed. She will also be on a 27-city U.S. tour starting July 2009..
• A musical force and a catalyst for social change: At the age of eighteen Baez was an international star with a Time magazine cover story; fifty years later she has thirty-three albums to her credit. She also marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., was jailed for supporting the draft resistance, and sang in the first Amnesty International tour. An extraordinary woman who has led an eventful life, Baez’s memoir is as honest, unpretentious, and courageous as she is. .