“And I’ll sit and shut up for a while. Which is really important, and it’s the hardest thing to do.” Joan Baez ~ NYT

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WOODSIDE, Calif. — She’s been performing for six decades and until this month hadn’t released a new album since 2008, but Joan Baez has been picking up momentum.

Taylor Swift brought her onstage, and Lana Del Rey said “Lust for Life,” her most recent album, had “early Joan Baez influences.” Last year, Ms. Baez was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Her 1970 version of the Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” (her only Top 10 single) was recently featured in the film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

Just as the folk music icon and pioneering activist has unlocked a fresh reserve of cultural resonance, however, she has decided to step back. She announced that her new album, “Whistle Down the Wind,” would be her final recording and said that the eight-month-long world tour that kicked off in Sweden earlier this month will mark her farewell to the road.

“It’s a big decision, but it feels so right,” she said, seated in the rustic, sun-drenched kitchen of a house she’s lived in for 50 years here, just a few minutes’ drive from Stanford University and the epicenter of Silicon Valley. “People who know me get that it’s time. When my mom [who died in 2013 at age 100] was 95, I said, ‘I think I’m going to quit,’ and she said, ‘Oh, but honey, what will your fans think?’ About three years later, I said, ‘I think I’m going to quit,’ and she said, ‘Oh, honey, you’ve done enough.’”

 At 77, Ms. Baez certainly doesn’t carry herself as if she has any intention of slowing down. On a recent afternoon, she interrupted a walk around her backyard to unlock her chicken coop and chase a dozen birds through the dirt. After rounding them back up, she was delighted to find a handful of new eggs, which she carefully carried up to her kitchen. In the house, the furniture was well worn, but the rooms felt spare and airy, perhaps because she’s “decluttering” using the Marie Kondo method and is proudly down to three shirts in her closet.
Ms. Baez cautions her younger listeners not to imitate the protest movement of the 1960s. “It’s like trying to have a second Woodstock, which is really stupid, I think.” CreditTed Streshinsky/Corbis, via Getty Images

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