This Week in Zoe News

The trickle of articles as Joan hits major US venues continues.

Paul Levinson:

She said, after one song – a song her sister Mimi sang all the time – that it’s hard to sing and cry at the same time.  At several times in the concert, I felt the same way about applauding and crying.  Especially after she sang Zoe Mulford’s “The President Sang Amazing Grace”.  (Yes, that’s exactly what the song’s about.)

There’s a mini review and interview by Dan DeLuca for

It includes well-chosen songs by Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Anohni, as well as Zoe Mulford’s “The President Sang Amazing Grace,” about Barack Obama’s vocalizing at the funeral for nine people gunned down in 2015 at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C.

Because, first of all, I can take advantage of the one thing Trump has done for me, which is to make all of these songs more meaningful. I mean, “The President Sang Amazing Grace” is not an angry song. It’s a beautiful song that drives its point home.

That song is so meaningful and so is “Another World.” Don’t call that a protest song. It’s just a beautiful song.

How did that one come to you?

My assistant found it. “The President” song just dropped out of the sky. I heard it on the radio.

Hey! A mention in the New York Times:

By contrast, set lists from Elton John’s three-year farewell tour, which comes to New York City in October, show a straightforward jukebox of two dozen certified hits. Mr. Simon and Ms. Baez both chose not to retire with wall-to-wall oldies; their farewell shows revisited past glories but also showed them still engaged, still tinkering.

Still, Ms. Baez also looked to songwriters from younger generations to address the present. Her current outlook, she said, is summed up in a song from Antony and the Johnsons, “Another World.” After she sang about an exploited woman’s revenge in “Silver Blade,” a ballad written for her by Josh Ritter, she cited the #MeToo movement. And in the night’s most topical song, Zoe Mulford’s “The President Sang Amazing Grace,” she memorialized the 2015 church murders in Charleston, S.C.

I’ll observe that this is some weird and shitty writing. I mean how does “tinkering” capture either Simon’s or Baez’s career or modus operendi? (They have to have been tinkering in order to still be tinkering.) It’s both weird and deflationary.

I mean Joan made huge adjustments to deal with her radically different voice. Musically, that’s not “just tinkering” by any measure.

It’s like the author felt the need to acknowledge that these weren’t just greatest hits tours but felt the need to dismiss them anyway but was too chickenshit to come right out and do so.

Joan at the Kimmel Center:

Baez’s guitar skills were one of the surprises of the night, as she first displayed them on the second song, Phil Ochs’ “There But for Fortune,” and showed them most overtly – alone on acoustic guitar, plucking the strings — on the night’s most political song, a cover of Zoe Mulford’s “The President Sang Amazing Grace.”

Another goofy review. Joan’s finger picking is not a surprise to anyone with any familiarity with Joan!

The whole review is yer doing a farewell tour wrong because not enough old stuff.