This Week In Zoe News #9: Chart Action

Really, the big news this week is that Whistle Down the Wind went from 104 to 88 on the Billboard top 200. It’s somewhat unusual, I gather, for an album to go up that way! Yay!  We also get some hints at sales numbers (in the low 10s of 1000s).

Chart Stuff

Keith Caulfield for Billboard:

— Joan Baez, Whistle Down the Wind – No. 104 — The singer returns to the Billboard 200 chart for the first time in nearly 10 years, with her highest charting effort in over 40 years, as Whistle Down the Wind bows at No. 104 with 7,000 units. It’s her first new album since Day After Tomorrow, which was released in September of 2008 and debuted and peaked at No. 128.

Whistle Down the Wind is Baez’s highest charting set since 1977’s Blowin’ Away reached No. 54 on the Aug. 6, 1977-dated list.

Whistle moves up the Billboard top 200 from 104 to 88! It stays at 5th on Americana

On UK Americana, it’s down to 4th from 2nd. (It dropped off the UK top 100 from 47th.)

Chart Data Tweet gives some concrete(?) numbers:

US pure album sales: #18 @joancbaez, Whistle Down the Wind 7,270 (13,761 total).

The iTunes data is mixed but generally good.

The highest rank anywhere was that #8 in Germany.

Album Reviews

Geoffrey Himes for Paste:

The album also includes contributions from the relatively obscure Anohni (aka Antony Hegarty), Tim Eriksen and Zoe Mulford.

Mulford wrote “The President Sang Amazing Grace” about alt-rightist Dylann Roof’s murder of nine African-American churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., and about Barack Obama’s eulogy at their funeral. “I was driving somewhere when I heard that song,” Baez says, “and I had to pull over to make sure I heard whose song it was, because I knew I had to sing it. It sounds trite, but I don’t choose a song; a song chooses me.”

Josh Hurst:

She trusts the warmth and sadness of these songs to shine through, and they do. Baez sings with too much affection for any of these songs to lapse into cynicism, and too much weariness for any of them to sound like celebration. And so she is caught between this mutilated world and another, better one she can’t quite imagine; she’ll cling to this until she can’t, and then she’ll let go. In the meantime, Baez leaves us with a Zoe Mulford song called “The President Sang Amazing Grace,” set in the wake of the Charleston church shooting: “But no words could say what must be said/ For all the living and the dead/ So on that day and in that place/ The President sang Amazing Grace.” To sing in the face of sorrow is an amazing grace, indeed; a tender mercy that only a broken world can allow.

Bruce Elder for Sydney Morning Herald:

There is one huge problem: on this record Baez has chosen songs to suit her activism and enthusiasms, not her voice. Thus there are two songs each by Tom Waits and Josh Ritter, and single offerings from Eliza Gilkyson, Anohni, Joe Henry, Mary Chapin Carpenter (her The Things We Are Made Of is untypically mediocre for one so gifted), Tim Eriksen and Zoe Mulford (a tear-inducing song titled The President Sang Amazing Grace, recalling Obama singing at the Charleston church where nine worshippers were gunned down). The result is not a bad album but, with more sympathetic vocal material, it could have been so much better.

Tony Hiller for The Australian:

In between are powerful renditions of Zoe Mulford and Eliza Gilkyson’s evocative anti-gun violence and social justice anthems, The President Sang Amazing Grace and The Great Correction.

Wyatt May for Roots Magazine:

Baez’s cover of Zoe Mulford’s “The President Sang Amazing Grace” offers a powerful recount of the 2015 shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. The track not only gives a harrowing reminder of that atrocity, but also serves to remind listeners that if our nation doesn’t move toward change, then such crimes will persist.

Concert Reviews

Paul Rhodes for the York Press:

The President Sang Amazing Grace, a highlight from her new Whistling Down The Wind album, was also a key moment on stage – a sombre, striking reflection on gun crime.

Jim Gilchrist for The Scotsman:

Hope and defiance never lost out, though, with Dylan’s Times They are a-Changin’ preceding The President Sang Amazing Grace, Zoe Mulford’s response to the Charleston church shooting (with additional applause for the composer, who was present). [ed: Yes! we were there!]


CultureHUB :

Your album Whistle Down The Wind is your first since 2008’s Day After Tomorrow, was there anything in particular that triggered your decision to record this – or was it a long-time coming?

It was heading towards the Fare Thee Well tour and I was thinking ‘whoops’ I need to do, and I wanted to do, another album for the ten years before it. Unless I was really triggered to do this album, then I wasn’t going to do it. Then all of a sudden it became very high on the list of things to do. So, my assistant, my manager, and friends just start digging, and you know a couple of those songs that were like miracles, I mean another world. The track, ‘The President Sang Amazing Grace’, I just happened to hear on the radio by this young woman songwriter.

Random bits

Amazon France:

5,0 sur 5 étoilesBelles chansons mélancoliques
Par Patrickle 22 mars 2018
Format: CD|Achat vérifié
J’ai beaucoup aimé la chanson The President sang Amazing Grace.

Le CD contient un livret avec les paroles des chansons.

YouTube Views

The Whistleversion of “The President Sang Amazing Grace” continues to gain views at a nice clip while the others have slowed down. The prelease version of “Whistle Down the Wind” crushes everything!

Video Date Uploaded 04/03/18 07/03/18 09/03/18 16/03/18 23/03/18
Whole Album Mar 2, 2018 7,634 Gone
Whistle Down the Wind Mar 2, 2018 609 1,621 2,390 6,864 9,541
Be of Good Heart Mar 2, 2018 860 1,757 2,206 5,017 7,760
Another World Mar 2, 2018 275 675 886 2,297 3,288
Civil War Mar 2, 2018 360 688 871 2,078 2,972
The Things That We Are Made Of Mar 2, 2018 358 837 1,123 2,838 4,156
The President Sang Amazing Grace Mar 2, 2018 3,564 6,084 8,088 15,112 20,052
Silver Blade Mar 2, 2018 352 775 994 2,499 3,572
Last Leaf Mar 2, 2018 265 653 823 1,948 2,735
The Great Correction Mar 2, 2018 238 565 727 1,714 2,361
I Wish the Wars Were All Over Mar 2, 2018 326 706 936 2,236 2,991
The President Sang Amazing Grace (Live) Jan 16, 2017 11,594 12,554 12,841 14,113 15,085
Joan Baez en carte blanche : “The president sang amazing grace” Feb 28, 2018 Didn’t Track 4,721 5,027 6,478 7,181
Le live : Joan Baez chante “Last Leaf” – C Ă Vous – 20/02/2018 Feb 28, 2018 Didn’t Track 11,921 12,471 14,386 16,084
Joan Baez en live – Last leaf Feb 20, 2018 Didn’t Track 4,418 4,598 5,364 6,292
Small Brown Birds Album Version Jan 27, 2017 5,423 5,656 5,723 6,133 6,281
Whistle Down the Wind (prerelease) 62,962
Joan Baez performs «The President Sang Amazing Grace» 9,500