There are not many pairings that can be described without hyperbole as exciting, but the joining of the voices and careers of Stephen Stills and Judy Collins this Saturday at MontBleu makes even that description inadequate.
Both septuagenarians now, the two were pivotal in the history of rock and folk. They also filled the gossip columns with their relationship (pretty much immortalized in Crosby, Stills and Nash’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”) and this tour marks the release of their first album together, “Everybody Knows” on Sept. 22, the title a tribute to their late friend Leonard Cohen.
Stills famously was a member of four major groups: Manassas; Buffalo Springfield; Crosby, Stills and Nash; and, of course, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. He’s been ranked the 28th greatest guitarist of all time by Billboard.
Most recently, he’s been touring with his latest group, The Rides, which also features Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Barry Goldberg. He’s taking a break with them for this tour which, on the web, Judy Collins describes as the two of them “mostly together” with some back-to-back breaks for solo singing.
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Where would music be if Judy Collins had not come along, galvanized the Greenwich Village scene, and recorded “Maid of Constant Sorrow,” promoting the words of Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs, among others? Then came “Sunflower,” which included her famous cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” and a career so vast it even once found her singing to the background of the sounds of humpback whales.
Collins’ latest release is the recent “Judy Collins: Letter to Stephen Sondheim,” although she’s said she won’t include his songs in this show. It has been said that she has perfect pitch, which may or not be so, but her tone is one of the purest. One of Stills’ latest efforts is the Number 2 concert, now on iTunes with “Light Up the Blues,” the performance he and wife Kristen gave last year in Los Angeles to raise money for Autism Speaks (they brought in over $320,000). (8 p.m.; $50-$70; Ticketmaster)
Maybe not quite as monumental, but there are plenty of memories at Thunder Valley on Saturday as well, these in R&B mode. V101’s annual Big Block Party brings in an assortment of artists, including Keith Sweat (“Nobody”) and Bobby Brown (“My Prerogative”). (5:30 p.m.; $48.95-$169.95; thundervalleyresort.com)
In Reno, the top concert is Friday night’s Mary J. Blige appearance at the Grand Sierra. Blige has two landmark career events this year: the release of her latest album, the emotional “Strength of a Woman”; and November’s release of her movie, “Mudbound,” in which she plays a poor mother in Mississippi before and after World War II. (8 p.m.; $68-$445; grandsierraresort.com)