Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Joni Mitchell's back with a new album

Joni Mitchell: The legendary singer-songwriter is back

By Pierre Perrone, Published 10 August 2007, The Independent

Joni Mitchell says that she's not ready for retirement after all

Ten years ago, it looked like Joni Mitchell's life had gone full circle. This most archetypal of singer-songwriters was inducted into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame along with her old friends Crosby, Stills and Nash. But, more importantly, she was reunited with the daughter she'd given away for adoption after becoming pregnant in the mid-Sixties, and her musical and personal journey – which had taken her from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Laurel Canyon, California via Greenwich Village, New York – seemed complete.

"In some ways, my gift for music and writing was born out of tragedy and loss," she told the documentary-maker Susan Lacy. "When my daughter returned to me, the gift kind of went with it. The songwriting was almost like something I did while I was waiting for my daughter to come back."

In 1998, Mitchell released Taming The Tiger, her last album of new material, and toured the US and Canada that year, and again in 2000. After that, as she explained during a two-part Radio 2 documentary broadcast earlier this year, she spent most of her time painting, watching old movies and listening to talk radio. "I came to hate music," she admitted to her friend the British songwriter Amanda Ghost.

Indeed, in 2002, as she issued Travelogue, a double CD on which she revisited her repertoire with orchestral backing, Mitchell announced she'd had enough of "the corrupt cesspool, the pornographic pigs" of the music industry and would be a recording artist no more. "Nothing sounded genuine or original. Truth and beauty were passé. I got the picture. I quit the business," she said. And, despite working with Rhino, the reissue arm of Warners, on a couple of thematic compilations of her oeuvre, she was as good as her word.

Until last year, that is, when Jean Grand-Maître, the artistic director of the Alberta Ballet, contacted Mitchell for permission to use her compositions in a ballet. Rather than simply let him choose songs to fit what would have been a "somewhat autobiographical" piece called Dancing Joni, she helped the project evolve into The Fiddle and the Drum, which premiered in Calgary, Canada, in February. She contributed some of her politically charged paintings to the set design and also delivered a couple of new songs she'd been working on, an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's "If" – her favourite poem – and "If I Had A Heart".

These compositions are now two of the pivotal tracks on Shine, Mitchell's new album to be released via Hear Music, the Starbucks-owned label, in the US and Canada, and the Concord Music Group/ Universal in the UK and the rest of Europe at the end of September.

The rest of the article is at

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