A living voice
Folk music and activist legend Joan Baez discusses her legacy
by Elliott Johnston
July 9 - July 15, 2009
The mere mention of Joan Baez's name emits sound and connation: that
heavenly, soaring vibrato; the heroic female voice of the 1960s folk
revival; the tireless, life-long champion of non-violent social protest.
"I am a part of history that people can identify immediately," she
says, matter-of-factly, after 50 years of singing onstage.
Last year, to mark the anniversary of her half-century career, which
she began as a teenager at Club 47 in Boston, Baez released Day After
Tomorrow, produced by roots troubadour Steve Earle. The album, which
features covers of songs by Tom Waits (title track), Elvis Costello,
Patty Griffin and Earle, is a continuation of Baez's knack for
unveiling diamonds in other artist's work. Her voice may sound more
weathered than it did when, as a young woman, she elevated tunes by
contemporaries like Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs to new heights, but on
the stripped down, rustic record, Baez may unearth deeper, more
profound emotion than when her voice was seamlessly angelic.
Also last year, Baez threw her support behind presidential candidate
Barack Obama. Baez, who worked intimately with Martin Luther King Jr.
during the Civil Rights Movement, and has traveled to war-torn
corners of the world in the name of non-violent protest, had never so
publicly championed a presidential contender.
Baez recently spoke to Boulder Weekly about her new album, Obama, the
state of social change, and why G.W. Bush was the best publicist she ever had.
Boulder Weekly: Your new record marks the 50th Anniversary of your
recording career, and you've said that you were working to channel
the spirit of Club 47 with this album. I'm wondering what that spirit
was, and how you went about interpreting that spirit for yourself at
Joan Baez: Well, let's see, what was it? For me I was pretty young,
so entering the music scene, I was young and I was already rebellious
about just about everything. So the folk scene started to happen, and
it was the rebellion against what we used to call bubblegum music.
It's kind of the same thing that's happening right now; music that's
just so utterly superficial and commercial (but sometimes it's
pretty). So I kind of formed myself in that whole musical era. I've
been through lots of phases over these 50 years, and having Steve
Earle producing this album, it does touch back, it is like a bookend
to the very beginning, because it's so rough and it's so unplugged
and just four or five musicians and simple songs. No fuss, no muss.
It's a lot like the beginning.
BW: At the beginning, you were picking topical songs. The new record
doesn't seem to be topical in the same way. It seems to be more
internal and reflective. How did you choose the songs for this album?
JB: The songs choose me. I wasn't looking for any direct hits on any
social issues. When I walk out on the stage, I'm already a direct
hit. I am a part of history that people can identify immediately, so
I don't feel that I have to overstate much.
The song "Day After Tomorrow" is, in itself, however, almost like my
whole history of my singing career and my political career. It's an
anti-war song that covers any war. But I wasn't looking to make a
BW: I'm interested in the idea that you've been averse to party
politics through your whole career. Some people might be surprised by
that. They might think: "Oh Joan Baez, she's a Democrat or a leftist
or something like that."
JB: I've never trusted party politics. I mean, you do what you have
to do to get there, but even Obama whom I really threw my weight
behind, and would do again I mean, look at the position he's stuck
in. I feel like I know where his heart is pulling him, and then he
has to do all these dances to just try to please everybody. He does
it more cleverly than anybody I've ever seen, but for the most part,
I guess I've just been more comfortable doing my politics on the
ground. And that comes from being taught about Gandhi at a very early
age, and then being able to be with Martin Luther King, who literally
was on the streets and literally worked with street gangs who over
night would put on an armband and become Marshals in his marches. He
was just transforming people. And he was smart enough to know not to
run for President, because that would mean he would have to start to
compromise everything. So I guess that's where I've always been comfortable.
BW: You've talked about how the '60s were a perfect storm for a lot
of social and musical forces coming together for change. I'm
wondering how the present moment looks to you in terms of the peace
movement and the environmental movement. It seems pretty fractured
compared to then.
JB: I think you are right, and then at the same time, you know what I
picture when you say fractured? I see light. I see light bouncing off
the fractured parts. I've seen just dullness for so many years.
People plugging along and doing the work, because you have to
continue trying to be decent even in the worst of times. But to be
decent now, there is some possibility it's going to amount to
something. So whatever your project is, if it's in the Congo, or if
it's in a nursery in Romania, it feels as though it's all beginning
to amount to something. I think the trick now is literally with
global warming is whether we are going to be around long enough to
see the fruits of any of our labor.
BW: Have you worked on the environment and the global warming issue?
JB: I have not done a great deal. I haven't picked a project. I'm
aware of it. I've been watching, and I think, like most of us, we're
doing whatever small thing we can do at home. I haven't found a place
that I can hook in. I think that's also like most of us.
Sometimes I feel like, if there were laws, even on a local level,
that said, "This is how much water you can use this week." If I knew
that I had to flush my toilet with gray water from the sink or I'd
get arrested, I'd be happy that way, because I do it half the time,
but the rest of the time, I'm not paying attention, you know? And I
know that if I had to do something, I would do it.
BW: How has the experience been touring last year and this, going out
and playing these new songs and talking to people?
JB: So refreshing. It was interesting, during the Bush Years actually
he was the best publicity agent I ever had. People were so ill with
having had him around so long that I was like this beacon. That in
itself brought back a lot of songs, like "With God on Our Side,"
because we needed them. And there was this rush of excitement and joy
with Obama, and that opens up another whole field of just pleasure.
It's taken this long in my life to make the tour absolutely flawless;
I don't have any high-maintenance people. I just have it smooth and
we love each other and the bus is a family, so it's like walking out
on stage is a pleasure, seeing what I can do with the evening.
On the Bill:
Joan Baez performs at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, July 15, at Chautauqua Auditorium,
900 Baseline Rd., Boulder,
'It's been a damn interesting life'
Veteran activist Joan Baez is still going strong just like her
music and her fight for justice
By George Varga
Pop Music Critic
July 9, 2009
As a veteran of the original Woodstock festival in 1969 and an early
champion of Bob Dylan, Joan Baez may seem like an unlikely musician
to use Twitter and YouTube, two favored modes of communication for
untold millions of young people around the world. But on June 25, she
used her Twitter account (twitter.com/joancbaez) to announce she had
posted a new version of the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome"
on YouTube, complete with a verse in Farsi "for the people of Iran."
The legendary singer-songwriter readily admits her assistant is
responsible for many of Baez's tweets on Twitter, which limits users
to 140 characters or less per post.
But Baez is eager to use any technology she can to extend her
commitment to human rights, in this case to reach disenfranchised
voters in Iran many of them young tweeters and YouTube-users. Her
primary impetus was last month's disputed Iranian presidential
elections and the mass public protests that followed.
"The first thing that engaged me about Twitter is Iran. The rest of
it hasn't been all that relevant," said Baez, who performs here
tomorrow night at Humphrey's Concerts by the Bay with a band that
includes her drummer son, Gabe.
"For me, Twitter is still completely obscure. I don't understand it;
I don't have the left brain (capabilities) to do it. But I was able
to send out a statement within 24 hours (after the controversial vote
in Iran), and an Iranian student in France responded. That led to me
doing 'We Shall Overcome,' after an Iranian friend of a friend helped
me learn part of it phonetically (in Farsi)."
Filmed in the kitchen of her Bay Area home, Baez's video of "We Shall
Overcome" can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=kVCqPAzI-JY. As befits
a longtime social activist, her no-frills performance lacks even a
hint of showbiz glitz or the self-congratulatory air too many pop
stars display when supporting a cause not directly related to
boosting their bank statements.
In an introduction to the video on her Web site, joanbaez.com, she
writes: "To the people of Iran: In you the world sees the power of
nonviolence. We hear it in the roar of your silence and see it in
your eyes as you sit down peacefully in the face of terror. We are
moved by your courage and inspired by your sacrifices.
"I'm fortunate to be alive to witness this movement. I send you my
prayers, love and support."
In previous decades, Baez has performed countless benefit concerts
for political causes. She has also participated in more protest
rallies than can be tallied without a calculator, including the famed
1963 march on Washington, D.C., with Dr. Martin Luther King, where
she performed "We Shall Overcome" for hundreds of thousands in front
of the Lincoln Memorial.
In 1965, the same year she and Dylan embarked on a joint U.S. concert
tour, Baez marched against segregation in Alabama and founded the
Institute for the Study of Nonviolence in Carmel Valley, south of San
From 1964 to 1974, she withheld 60 percent of her annual income
taxes, the amount she calculated the government was using from each
taxpayer to underwrite the war in Vietnam, which she opposed. In
1979, after forming Humanitas International Human Rights Committee,
she led protests against human-rights violations by Vietnam's
Now, thanks to the Internet and instant text messaging, she can share
her music and her views almost immediately with a worldwide audience.
"There was an immediate engagement that would not have happened
without Twitter," Baez said. "On (MSNBC's) 'Rachel Maddow Show,'
there was a recent report that as the Iranian government goes on
shutting things down from the inside more and more young people in
America are finding ways to hack their way into the technology in
Iran. That's really exciting to me, that they care and are actually
And what about Baez's May 14 Tweet, which read: "Jazzercise this
morning. Tonight seeing The (Grateful) Dead with family and friends"?
"Yeah, that's absolutely boring," she said with a laugh. "I asked (my
assistant) not to do that kind of post anymore. It's too tedious for
anybody to do."
Besides, Baez has more pressing matters at hand, including her
ongoing concert tour, which follows her excellent 2008 album, "Day
After Tomorrow," which was produced by kindred musical spirit Steve
Earle. She is also completing work on a film documentary about her
now 50-year-long career that she hopes to release next year.
"I saw the rough cut the other day and it's damn interesting. I mean,
it's been a damn interesting life," said Baez, who in 2006 was
presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys. "There's
no narrator; I'm pretty much narrating it myself. And, yes, Dylan is
in it, in his current state. So is David Crosby, (former Czech leader
and "Velvet Revolution" leader) Vaclav Havel, Jesse Jackson, my
ex-husband David Harris and I.
"Most of it is taking place as conversations. The director said to
David Harris and me: 'Just just sit down and be talking.' And David
said: 'Great. I've been waiting 40 years for this!' It just gave all
of us an opportunity to enjoy ourselves. Plus, my father was a camera
buff and had a lot of 8mm footage sitting around."
Baez, 68, chortled when asked if she was surprised by anything that
had slipped her memory while making the film documentary.
"Good lord, it was a joke!" she said. "When they asked me questions
about dates, I said 'You'll have to look them up.' Plus, I couldn't
remember a lot of things. Any autobiography or film like this should
be prefaced by saying: 'These are the vaguest of notions of what
happened in my life and other people's versions are just as faulty
as my own.' "
DIAMONDS, NO RUST
Joan Baez's golden-voiced musical collaborations with such fellow
legends as Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger are a matter of record. But she
has also made equally memorable music with lesser-known artists
around the world. Here are three of note:
Artist: Thea Gilmore
Album: "Liejacker" (Rykodisc)
England's Gilmore, 28, cites Baez as a prime musical influence,
saying: "Joan Baez practically invented my job some 40 odd years ago
I can't think of anyone else on the planet with the voice, the
presence and the standing to carry this off." The "this" is their
luminous 2008 duet on "The Lower Road," a song that masterfully
explores political and social challenges from multiple perspectives.
Artists: Mercedes Sosa & Joan Baez
Video: "Gracias a la Vida" (youtube.com/watch?v=rMuTXcf3-6A)
Argentinian nuevo cancion queen Sosa has performed many classics and
"Gracias a la Vida" ("Thanks for the Life") by Chilean
singer-songwriter Violeta Parra is one of the most stirring. Baez has
long included the song in her concert repertoire. Her duo version
with Sosa at a show in Germany is exquisite. (It's also available on
the 2005 DVD "Three Worlds, Three Voices, One Vision," by Sosa, Baez
and Konstantin Wecker.)
Artist: Mary Black
Album: "The Best of Mary Black, Vol. 2" (Curb)
Whether singing folk, pop, country or traditional Celtic music,
Ireland's Mary Black has long been held in high esteem by musicians
on both sides of the Atlantic. Released in 2001, this 30-song
compilation features a stunning live duet by Black and Baez on "Ring
Them Bells," a Bob Dylan gem that soars anew.
Joan Baez, one folkie flower not gone
Legendary performer, activist coming to The Pageant
July 10, 2009 - 12:01 PM
By VICKI BENNINGTON
For The Telegraph
ST. LOUIS Joan Baez has long been a driving force in the world of
music and political awareness, celebrating her 50th anniversary as a
performer in 2008.
With her trademark enthusiasm, she continues to tour and perform and
leave her mark and word on the political front. Hitting the musical
scene as a folk singer in 1959, Baez's reach spread even more after
participating in the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, soon
approaching its 40th anniversary in August.
Coming to St. Louis on July 19 to perform at The Pageant, some of her
biggest hits include "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" (her most
successful career single), "Diamonds and Rust," "There But For
Fortune," "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" "Blowin' in the Wind"
(written and first recorded by Bob Dylan), "House of the Rising Sun,"
"The Lily Of The West" and "Farewell Angelina."
The lyrics of many of her songs have reflected on social issues of
the day. Her passion for activism has encompassed non-violence, civil
and human rights of all kinds and the environment. According to her
official biography, "Her influence is incalculable. Having marched on
the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King
Jr., inspiring Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic,
singing on the first Amnesty International tour and standing
alongside Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday
in London's Hyde Park, she brought the Free Speech Movement into the
spotlight, took to the fields with Cesar Chavez, organized resistance
to the war in Southeast Asia, then 40 years later saluted the Dixie
Chicks for their courage to protest war."
When she was 17, Baez entered Boston University School Of Drama,
where she was surrounded by other folk singers. She recorded her
first solo album in 1960, her earliest songs being mostly ballads and
blues, lullabies and ethnic folk songs.
In 1963, she began touring with Bob Dylan and recording his songs.
She had a long relationship with Dylan and focused awareness on
songwriters such as Woody Guthrie, Phil Ochs, Richard Farina and Kris
She sang about freedom and civil rights. Baez received the American
Civil Liberties Union's Earl Warren Award for her commitment to human
and civil rights issues, and she founded the Humanitas International
Human Rights Committee, which she headed for 13 years.
In 1969, Baez's appearance at the historic Woodstock music festival
in upstate New York afforded her an international musical and
political podium, particularly upon the successful release of the
like-titled documentary film. In 1986, she joined the Amnesty
International's Conspiracy of Hope tour. In 1993, Baez was the first
major artist to perform in Sarajevo since the beginning of the civil
war as she traveled to war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina at the invitation
of Refugees International. She sang for the National Gay and Lesbian
Task Force's Fight the Right fund-raising event in San Francisco.
Her latest album, "Day After Tomorrow," released in September 2008,
is her first new studio recording in several years. It features three
songs written by Steve Earle, including "God Is God." Earle produces,
plays guitar and sings harmony. The album also includes songs by
Eliza Gilkyson, Patty Griffin, Tom Waits, Diana Jones and Thea Gilmore.
Earlier this year, Grammy-winning classical guitarist Sharon Isbin
released her album "Journey To The New World," which includes the
"Joan Baez Suite: Opus 144," a piece by John Duarte that incorporates
songs from Baez's early folk career including "Once I Had A
Sweetheart," "House of the Rising Sun," "Silkie," "Wildwood Flower"
and others. Baez vocals can be heard on the album's "I Am A Poor
Wayfaring Stranger" and "Go 'Way From My Window."
This month, Baez is re-releasing her earlier autobiography, "And A
Voice To Sing With," in paperback form. The book tells her life
story, sharing her introduction to folk music; her musical and
personal involvement with Bob Dylan; her marriage to David Harris and
the birth of her son.
Baez received the 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from the National
Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. She has had six Grammy Award
nominations and received many other awards and recognitions for her
music and humanitarian work.
Baez will appear at 8 p.m. Sunday, July 19 at The Pageant. Tickets
cost $45 and may be purchased by telephone at (800) 745-3000, online
at www.ticketmaster.com or at The Pageant box office.
ACTIVIST AND PERFORMER / Learn more about Joan Baez
July 10, 2009
* Joan Baez debuted on the national scene at age 18, at the 1959
Newport Folk Festival and recorded her first album, consisting of
traditional songs, the following year.
* Baez has made something of a career of introducing new musical
talent. Her most famous "discovery" was Bob Dylan. She covered a
Dylan song on her third album, 1962's "Joan Baez in Concert," and
later invited him to appear with her at the dawn of his career. The
two were romantically involved until 1965, and remain friends today.
She recorded an entire album of Dylan compositions in 1968, called
"Any Day Now."
* A pregnant Baez (then-husband and draft protestor David Harris was
in prison at the time) performed several songs at the 1969 Woodstock
Festival, including "Joe Hill." The song is about the execution of
Hill in Utah in 1915. Hill was an outspoken union organizer and early
protest-song writer, accused of a murder of which he was likely not guilty.
* Though her career has been enduring, Baez has not had much
chart-topping success. However, her 1971 version of The Band's "The
Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" became a top-five single.
* Baez's most successful album was 1975's "Diamonds and Rust,"
spawning another top-10 single in the title cut, which she has said
is a reminiscence about her relationship with Dylan.
* Although the '80s aren't often considered a time of activism, Baez
kept heavily involved with human rights causes, playing in 1985 with
"Live Aid," as well as touring in support of Amnesty International on
a couple of package tours.
* In 1989, Baez played in communist Czechoslovakia and met poet,
activist and future Czech president Vaclav Havel, who was under
threat of arrest for his own outspokenness. She helped hide Havel by
disguising him as a roadie carrying her guitar. During one point in
the performance, her microphone was turned off when concert
organizers thought she was becoming too radical, but Baez carried on
singing anyway. Havel later cited Baez and her bold performance as
one of the inspirations for the Velvet Revolution, the bloodless
revolt that freed the country from Soviet rule.
* In 2007, Baez was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
* 2008 saw the release of the album "Day After Tomorrow," a
collaboration of songs with political firebrand singer/songwriter
Steve Earle, who also produced. The Grammy-nominated album was her
most commercially successful album since the mid-1980s.
* On June 25, 2009, Baez posted a video on the Internet of herself
singing solo acoustic "We Shall Overcome," in both English and Farsi
(verses translated by Resa Salari). She recorded the version in
response to the election protests in Iran. On her Web site, she wrote
to the Iranian people: "In you the world sees the power of
nonviolence. We hear it in the roar of your silence and see it in
your eyes as you sit down peacefully in the face of terror. We are
moved by your courage and inspired by your sacrifices. I am fortunate
to be alive to witness this movement. I send you my prayers, love,
Sources: www.joanbaez.com; "Positively 4th Street: The Lives and
Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fari-a and Richard Fari-a,"
David Hajdu (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001);
Baez stays true to message, music
LINDA EAST BRADY
July 10, 2009
In her 50 years as professional singer and activist, Joan Baez has
hobnobbed with world leaders and beggars, with peaceniks and
soldiers, and through it all, has remained true to her Quaker-raised
pacifist attitude and musical integrity.
She has been playing in Utah since the dawn of her career but has
never before played in the intimate setting of Kenley Centennial
Amphitheater. That will change come Monday night.
One reason Baez is appearing in Layton is due to the efforts of Dawn
Brandvold, Davis County Arts board member and self-confessed Baez
superfan. She and her husband, Bryan Gray, whom Brandvold described
as even a bigger fan than herself, have traveled to see Baez in
Denver, Boulder, Colo., and Boise, Idaho, in recent years. Brandvold
reckons she has seen the performer nine times; Gray, eight.
Brandvold said she pushed for Baez to be part of the Kenley schedule.
"I am really impressed with her integrity," Brandvold said. "That is
the biggest thing for me, even more than her music. That is who she
is. And her voice sounds better than it did 30 years ago -- she
sounds beautiful and she looks beautiful.
"When we were talking about booking her, I told everyone that the
thing I was most impressed with is that she believes in what she
believes in, supports new artists and has never sold out."
Blair Larsen, a board member of the Bridger Folk Music Society and
host of Logan's Utah Public Radio station KUSU, said that Baez is not
only important socially and as an artist, but she is vital to the
music scene as a mentor.
"She really is inclusive," Larsen said. "It's not about all Joan, all
the time. She is known for her voice -- amazing -- and was fortunate
enough to first find success in the 'folk scare,' as they call it, of
the '60s and early '70s. But also it is about what she has done for
other people, taking artists under her wing. She is about her community."
Said Brandvold: "She brought Bob Dylan in when she was the big star
and he was nobody. I saw her bring up Dar Williams at a show when she
was not very well-known, and now she is becoming a big star in her
own right. When we saw her in Boulder, she had Brett Dennen there,
then kind of an up-and-comer. They sang, "The Night They Drove Old
Dixie Down," and his voice was perfect for it -- it was crazy amazing."
That Baez has never turned complacent is part of her eternal appeal
to Bryan Gray.
"Every album she puts out has been a slap shot of a quest of defining
who we are as a people, and as individuals," he said. "Her albums are
more than just records.
"Unlike most of the performers of that era, she has refused to become
an oldies act," Gray added. "That very first show I saw, she was
singing about civil rights, and on this last album ('Day After
Tomorrow'), for example, there was the song 'God Is God' where she is
exploring the aspect of spirituality, which naturally is a huge
concern now around the world."
Said Larsen of Baez's longevity: "I would guess it has a lot to do
with what she wants, what makes her tick. Performing is something
that clearly gives her satisfaction, and she has kept it fresh by
collaborating, by introducing new artists, by invigorating her shows.
So I think she has done some of those things to keep things fresh for her."
Old and new
Something else Baez brings to the table: one of those special
elements of the best of folk -- mixing old songs and traditionals
with brand-new stuff.
"She has a 50-year-long career now, but her repertoire is hundreds of
years old," Larsen said "But that is kind of the M.O. for folk music
-- be able to pull up some of those traditional ballads, the murder
ballads, the jilted lovers, and then at the same time have a song
that says something, has a message, something commenting about the
immediate state of politics and government. Being able to do both is
what folk music is all about. She is very good at that, a real natural."
Said Brandvold: "At the Boise show, she sang folk songs that were 200
years old and she also sang a song that Elvis Costello wrote for (the
film) 'Cold Mountain,' songs by Steve Earle, four or five Dylan
tunes. If you are a folk lover, you've got to love her because her
shows are so retrospective."
Both Gray and his wife have a hard time pinpointing a favorite Baez
tune. Both agree they hold in high esteem her version of the
again-timely "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)," Woody Guthrie's
poignant true tale of illegal immigrants dying in a crash as they are
being transported back to Mexico.
"Talk about a still-relevant, timely song," said Gray.
Brandvold said, "On her new CD, she has a great song called 'I'm a
Wanderer' and that is great live. She also sang 'Forever Young' in
Boise, and told an amazing story about how her parents were divorced,
but when her dad was 94 and her mom 92, he'd asked her to marry him
again. And she said, 'Why do you want to do this?' Joan's father
said, 'I am going to die soon and I want to be married to you when I do.'
"So they married, and Joan sang this at their wedding. It was such a
sweet story, and a beautiful (Bob) Dylan song, too."
Gray also points to the Dylan-penned tune "Farewell Angelina" and a
song that Baez wrote for her late sister Mimi Baez Fari ±a and
husband Richard Fari ±a, "Sweet Sir Galahad," as favorites.
Both were torn when pushed to name their absolute favorite.
"It's like trying to pick between your favorite kids," Gray quipped.
As for politics, there is little doubt Baez would rate left of center
by most measures. Her past includes a marriage to Davis Harris, who
in 1969 went to prison for avoiding the draft, and a visit to North
Vietnam in 1972.
More recently, Baez recorded a version of "We Shall Overcome" in both
English and Farsi, and posted it on the Web, dedicating it to the war
protesters of Iran. The video spread virally to the embattled country
via Twitter and other social media sites.
Gray, who professes to being conservative about many things, is not
put off by this aspect of her music. He even admits to thinking
differently about certain things due to listening to Baez.
"After all, she went to conservative Nashville and became friends
with very conservative (guitarist) Chet Atkins," he said. "How many
could manage that? Different persuasions seem to admire her for not wavering.
"Some people have asked me, 'How can you like that? She is so
political.' Well, I agree with many of her views, though certainly
not all -- I am quite a conservative when it comes to law and order
issues, for example. But when, for example, you listen to her song
'Prison Trilogy,' an extremely liberal song, there are elements of
great truth there."
"She does not dabble in celebrity causes," Gray added. "She is
totally committed, in everything from gender rights to civil rights.
She has the courage of her convictions."