The Joan Baez “Fare Thee Well” tour, which started in Europe last year and ends next year, doesn’t mean the iconic folksinger is saying farewell forever to live performances.
But the current tour, which will bring her Sunday, Nov. 11, to a sold-out show at Green Music Center, does mean goodbye to full-scale touring.
“I plan on singing when I want to sing,” said Baez, who turned 77 in January. “There’s a difference between that and bumping along for six weeks in a tour bus, which I also love, but is that what I want to be doing when I’m 77 years old?”
It’s a choice each performer must make, she said. “Pete Seeger sang until his 90s and his voice was shot but it didn’t matter,” Baez said. “It was about what he had to say and teach.”
While Baez hasn’t reached that point in her own career, she will say it takes more time and effort now to get her voice into shape for a performance tour.
In March, Baez released a new studio album, “Whistle Down the Wind,” which is her first in 10 years and quite possibly her last.
“It’s probably the last one, and I say that because I really can’t imagine putting together another album. I mean, talk about work! It’s really hard work, and there’s nothing in my consciousness, in view, on the horizon or anything. I’m really happy with this one,” she said.
“I’m not saying it’s the last album, because at some point, something might trigger a special album, or one more special project,” Baez added. “But I really do not anticipate making another album.”
So what will she do?
“You know, we had two weeks off a little while ago, and I actually did a lot of nothing, which is a big challenge for me, because I’m a doer,” said Baez, who lives in Woodside. “To sit down and stop, or watch a movie at two o’clock in the afternoon is just absolutely unheard of, so those are like exercises in how do I handle my life when I’m not super busy.”
Baez continues to paint portraits, which she began doing roughly seven years ago. Last year, 14 works in her “Mischief Makers” series — featuring paintings of Bob Dylan, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr. and others — were donated to the Sonoma State University with funds from the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.
“When I get into painting, I don’t really want to do anything else,” she said. “The other thing, though, is I’m making a documentary film of my life. That’s taking a lot of time, too. And it will be something that I’m really deeply involved in, and it will talk about stuff that I’ve never talked before, because it’s time.”
Baez does expect some post-tour depression and characteristically, she isn’t afraid of facing some even bigger issues.
“I’ll probably have moments of really deep sorrow,” she said. “It’s also time to start thinking about death. You know, we’re so allergic to it. But I’m up to a time where I really ought to give it a whole lot more thought and hang out with a bunch of Buddhists, because they seem to be the only ones who know how to deal with it.”
If You Go
What: Joan Baez, ‘Fare Thee Well Tour’
When: 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11
Where: Weill Hall at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park
Admission: Sold out
Information: gmc.sonoma.edu, 866-955-6040