Listen On:

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify

Join Pushkin+

Gain access to ad-free versions of 20+ podcasts from the Pushkin library along with exclusive bonus episodes and other member benefits.

Of all the groundbreaking musicians to come out of the ‘60s, few were as engaged socially and politically as Joan Baez. A lifelong proponent of non-violent activism, Joan marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and has continued to advocate for non-violent, civil disobedience ever since.

With the release of her debut album in 1960, Joan Baez became the preeminent female folkie. With just her exquisite soprano and her guitar, she reworked classic American folk songs and eventually wrote songs that helped fuel her activism. By the time she helped launch Bob Dylan’s career by inviting him on stage with her in the early ‘60s, Joan was already an international sensation.

In 2019, after a career that spanned nearly six decades, Joan announced she was no longer performing live. In recent years, she’s turned her creative attention to visual art. Her new book of drawings titled “Am I Pretty When I Fly” features sketches rooted in humor, freedom, and sorrow. But, in classic Joan Baez style, her drawings defy convention—they were all drawn upside down.

On today’s episode you’ll hear a live conversation Justin Richmond had with Joan Baez at the Chicago Humanities Festival in May. Joan spoke about the emotional catharsis she finds in drawing. She also talked about juggling music and activism as a young artist, and what happened when she handed over access to her personal storage unit to a group of documentary filmmakers who are making a movie about her life. And despite giving up live performance, she took a moment to serenade the crowd all with her beloved voice.

You can hear a playlist of some of our favorite Joan Baez songs HERE.

The Hosts

Rick Rubin

In addition to being a podcast host, Frederick Jay “Rick” Rubin is an American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, he is the co-founder…

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell is co-founder of Pushkin Industries and host of the hit podcast Revisionist History. He is a journalist, a speaker, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers including The Tipping…

Justin Richmond

Justin Richmond is producer and co-host of the music podcast Broken Record with writer Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times editor Bruce Headlam, and music producer—and Def Jam co-founder—Rick Rubin. Justin…

Bruce Headlam

Bruce Headlam is one of the co-creators of the music podcast Broken Record. He worked at The New York Times for 19 years, including two years running the 50-person Video…