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Joni Mitchell - Photo Credit: Norman Seeff

Joni Mitchell

1981

A lifelong interest in the arts, especially painting, and love of dancing to rock ‘n roll emerged early in Joni Mitchell’s childhood.

Joni began singing folk music in a local coffeehouse while attending Alberta College of Art in Calgary.  In 1965, she married Chuck Mitchell and they settled in Detroit.  Her songs began to circulate and in 1967 Tom Rush recorded “Tin Angel” and “The Circle Game”.  A year later Judy Collins followed suit by recording Joni’s “Michael from the Mountains” and “Both Sides Now”.  “Woodstock” became an anthem for a generation of youth.

Since those early days her music has undergone continuous, evolutionary growth and has changed in ways that have surprised and alienated some of her early fans but not without garnering new audiences with each plateau.

From “confessional poet”, as she described herself in albums such as Blue and For the Roses; to The Hissing of Summer Lawns which was radically different with its “jazz overtones”; to Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter which she made without worrying about sales; to Mingus a collaboration of Joni and Charles Mingus, just prior to his death, Joni Mitchell continues to place interest in what she calls “modern American music” shedding light on how she sees her own music in relation to the world at large.

With regard to the future, she says she’s “still obsessed with pushing the perimeters of what entails a pop song. I can’t really let go of that impulse yet. I don’t know where I’m going. I never really do. My songs could come out any shape at this point. I am thinking about keeping it simpler…I feel myself returning more to basics and to my roots in folk music. But I don’t even know what that simplicity might turn out like.”

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