Joan Baez
Whistle Down the Wind
Razor & Tie

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“Whistle Down the Wind” is the American folk icon’s first release in ten years and what she has pronounced to be her last album. In speaking about the release, she has made clear that the election of Donald Trump, gave new life and impetus to her wanting to compose and effect change through her music as she has done for decades. The album, the first-rate production work by three time Grammy-award winner Joe Henry, authentically captures Baez’s seasoned vocals. For the most part, the recording, which features compositions by Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Anohni and Mary Chapin Carpenter, leaves one feeling skeptical or unsure toward America’s future, but in the end, we sense that there is some promise of hope in the final track, Tim Erikson’s “I Wish the Wars Were All Over”. It’s a bit sad, particularly for those who well-remember Baez from the 1960s and 70s, to think that she is taking a curtain call with “Whistle Down the Wind”, but this is an album that is emotionally genuine inspiring action in the face of social dishonesty and injustice.