Stephen Stills and Judy Collins share the stage for the first time in 50 years

@TheSunGazette

VISALIA – The songwriter who penned the most popular song for a legendary rock/folk group is touring with the artist who served as its muse 50 years after their love affair. Next month, folk music icons Stephen Stills and Judy Collins will celebrate the golden anniversary of their formative time together with a concert on Nov. 2 at the Visalia Fox Theater.

Their joint tour, which began this summer, marks the first time ever Stills and Collins have been onstage together. For this once in a lifetime experience, the two music legends will pull from their rich catalogs, debut songs from their new album, and share warm and intimate stories from their journeys and the 1960s folk and Laurel Canyon scenes they helped build.

Stills met Collins, known for her piercing, ocean blue eyes, in 1967 and dated for two years. Stills wrote and demoed his legendary love song “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” to Collins right after he left Buffalo Springfield and before he joined legendary music trio Crosby, Stills & Nash (CSN). “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” is a five-section romantic epic brimming with heartfelt sincerity that would soon be immortalized by CSN on their landmark debut album.

The song reached No. 21 on the Billboard charts and helped the self-titled album climb all the way to No. 6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart. The song has been ranked No. 418 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time Poll.

Both artists would go gone to shape modern music with visionary approaches, but Stills and Collins’ short fiery union remains a transformative era for the two artists. Stills is known for his work with Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and his solo work. In addition to “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” Stills is best known for the hits “ For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield and “Love The One You’re With” from his solo debut, Stephen Stills. He’s a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and ranked No. 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s “The 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time.” He also has the added distinction of being the first artist to be inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame twice in one night (for his work with CSN and Buffalo Springfield). He recently released a sophomore album with The Rides, the blues-rock supergroup he formed in 2013 with Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg, and is currently putting the finishing touches on his long-awaited, much-anticipated autobiography.

The ‘Stills & Collins’ tour comes on the heels of a very busy period for Collins, who released an album in 2015 and 2016. 2015’s ‘Strangers Again’ earned Judy her highest Billboard 200 debut in almost 30 years, and 2016’s ‘Silver Skies Blue’ duets album with Ari Hest earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Folk Album. She’s recently been described by the New York Times as the “ageless wild angel of pop,” appeared in HBO’s Girls, and released the book ‘Cravings: How I Conquered Food’ earlier this year.

Stills and Collins will perform live at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2 at the Visalia Fox Theater, 308 W. Main St. in Visalia. Tickets range from $40 to $81 and can be purchased by calling 559-625-1369 or visiting foxvisalia.org.

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