Joan Baez is still vocal and singing about causes she is passionate about.

The mother of all singing social activists existed long before Bono, “We Are the World,” Live Aid, Band Aid, Farm Aid, or the Dixie Chicks being banned. Joan Baez led opposition to the Vietnam War, marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr., and celebrated Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday next to him.

Is bearing the weight of the entire world on her shoulders ever a burden? Would doing the occasional mindless one-night lounge act in Vegas, covering Bee Gees songs, ever just be a relief?

Her laughter is contagious. She says, not really. However, it doesn’t seem like she needs to these days, according to the singer of beloved folk tunes from the 1960s like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Diamonds and Rust.” “I used to be up to my teeth, but not anymore,” she remarks. “I’m not trying to be the first person on the scene. Though it’s far more laid back than it was years ago, it’s still not a “lounge act.” When you know the world is ending in a basket, carrying the weight of the entire world on your shoulders is just too much to bear.”

Hold off. Is there an undercurrent of cynicism? Has Baez’s idealism faded over the years due to life and experience? He is 75 years old. Never having been much of an “idealist,”

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