Gilbert came to fame in the progressive folk group The Weavers, which served as a major influence on a young Near. The two started performing together in the 1950s but were blacklisted soon after. Recently reunited, they perform several songs for Fresh Air.
As a teenager at the beginning of her folk career, Joan Baez played mostly sad, traditional songs. She later became an icon to teenage girls in the 1960s, played with Bob Dylan, and pursued political activism.
Near gained national attention when she joined Jane Fonda in antiwar protests. She joins Fresh Air to talk about developing her skills as a performer, her early acting career, and how she defines her sexuality. Her new memoir is called Fire in the Rain--Singer in the Storm.
Baez was leading figure in the heyday of the Greenwich Village folk scene. She has continued to use her music in the service of various political causes, including a number of human rights organizations. In 1987, she published an autobiography called "And a Voice to Sing with: A Memoir." Most recently, Baez has performed at the Amnesty International's "Conspiracy of Hope" and "Human Rights Now!" concerts, and has been involved in human rights work for Bosnia. Her latest album is called "Play Me Backwards."
American folk singer Rosalie Sorrels may not be wildly famous but since the 1960s she's developed a near cult like following. Her admirers describe Sorrels as someone who has lived the life she now sings about. In fact, she was immortalized in a song by Nanci Griffith describing Sorrels as "Salt of the earth.....with a voice like wine." .Her newest CD is "Borderline Heart" by Green Linnet Records Inc. The book "Way Out in Idaho" is a collection of her poems, songs and recipes.
The Canadian singer-songwriter discusses the death of her sister and singing partner Kate McGarrigle, who died in 2010. Their early albums have been remastered and are part of a new collection, which also includes previously unreleased songs.