Judy Collins, 73, Has Projects Planned Through 2016

Judy Collins, 73, Has Projects Planned Through 2016

The veteran artist is currently promoting her new book "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music."

Even as she surveys her past in the new book "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music," Judy Collins is planning her future, with projects that the veteran singer expects to take her into 2016.

The 73-year-old Collins -- who's also being seen this month in a "Judy Collins Live at the Metropolitan Museum in New York" special for PBS -- tells Billboard she's been greenlit for two more album-public broadcasting combos. The first is "The Judy Collins Irish Album," which should roll out in 2014. "I'll got to Ireland in June and record with a number of wonderful Irish artists." And those would be? "I'm not going to tell you," Collins says. "It'll be a surprise."

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Next on the docket will be an album of Stephen Sondheim music, which Collins says she's "waited to do for a very long time." It's slated to debut in 2016 and will return her to the work of a composer whose "Send in the Clowns" she turned into a Hot 100 hit twice in 1977. "It'll be almost 40 years when the Sondheim show and special, and the DVD and CD, is ready for PBS, so that's kind of perfect," says Collins, whose last album, "Bohemian," came out in 2011.

While those loom, however, Collins is busy promoting "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes," her seventh book but the first to go in-depth into her music career and particularly into the early and mid-60s scene in and around New York's Greenwich Village, where she was discovered and signed to her first recording contract. "I've written a lot of books, but I really wanted to do one that focused on the 60s and detail what it was like in those years -- what the clubs were like, what the artists were like who I worked with," Collins says. "It was a very rich environment in which to develop your voice, so to speak. I really thought it was important to get that down so people could get a feeling of what it was like. It was a very exciting book to write because I have so much material I've saved, so many date books, so many journals. I knew exactly where I was most of the time, so I could really be specific about everything."

Besides reminiscing, Collins says the book also gave her a perspective on the lives and careers of colleague such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen and Stephen Stills -- a former boyfriend who wrote Crosby, Still & Nash's iconic "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" about her. She recently attended CSN's performance of its entire debut album in New York City, and Collins says she takes pride these days in seeing how many of her peers are still active and working.

"We have jobs, you know?" she explains. "It is such a dignified thing to be able to say you're making your own living. It's a big deal -- a very, very big deal. The older I get the more I realize that not everybody can make a living doing what they love doing. So I feel very privileged to have the ability to do that."