LIHUE — For Judy Collins, it’s Kauai’s unparalleled beauty that keeps her coming back to the Garden Isle.
“I’ve been there a lot. The first time I went was in 1966, I think,” she said. “It’s all the things everyone wants to have — beautiful water and sand.”
The award-winning singer/songwriter who is known for her ability to cross music genres, excelling in folk, show tunes, pop, country and rock and roll, will be on Kauai later this month. She will be performing with special guest, Ari Hest, to showcase her newest album, Silver Skies Blue.
Collins began her musical journey when she was 13, garnering attention as a piano prodigy. But after hearing folk revival music by artists like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, she made the switch to guitar and started pursuing a career in folk music.
“I very much like the stories. That’s what got my attention,” Collins said. “For the first couple of albums, I sang traditional song. Then someone asked me why I wasn’t writing my own songs, so I did. Some of the songs have become very famous, so that’s lucky for me.”
In 1961, Collins released “A Maid of Constant Sorrow,” which featured interpretations of social poets like ob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton.
That album kick started a five-decade career. She continues to be a touring artist, social advocate and mentor.
While she got her start in folk music, Collins does not subscribe to a specific genre.
“I like all kinds of music. I don’t what the kinds of music I sing — maybe it’s Judy Collins,” she said. “I like different kinds of music.”
As a mentor, Collins nurtures up and coming artists.
“A lot of mentoring is keeping your ears open. And watching what an artist does — how they behave on stage and how they spend their time,” she said.
Kauai is the first stop for Collins on her Hawaii chain tour. She will be at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center on Jan. 26.
She performed at KCC last year to a packed house, performing many favorites and new songs, too.
The album has been nominated for a Grammy and features songs like “Send in the Clowns” and “Hallelujah.”
“It’s the first nomination for Ari and it’s been four years since I had a nomination,” Collins said.
Hest, a singer and songwriter from New York, will be playing an opening set as well as with Collins.
The alternative pop/rock and alternative/indie rick singer has been in the music industry for about 15 years. His music can be heard in T.V. shows and movies like The Lincoln Lawyer, Private Practice, Army Wives, and One Tree Hill.
Silver Skies Blue is Collins’ newest creation. It is a collection of duets with some of her favorite male artists, including Hest, Don Mclean, Michael McDonald, Jeff Bridges, Willie Nelson and Jackson Browne.
General admission tickets are $45 and gold circle tickets are $65. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.
For tickets and info, go to www.lazarbear.com or call 808-896-4845.
Tickets are available at Kauai Music and Sound, Hanalei Strings and Things, Scotty’s Music. Kmart, Jacqueline on Kauai, Progressive Expressions and Kalaheo Music.
Depending on availability, tickets could be sold at the door.