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Old 11-16-2007   #5
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 20
Default Re: Joni Mitchell's new album?

I haven't heard the new Mitchell CD, but I imagine it's got good stuff on it because Joni is a consistently passionate artist. More importantly, Jerry's got to get past his folk-phobia. What, is he stuck mentally comparing every folk-labeled artist with The Kingston Trio? That's crazy! That would be like calling his beloved Guns 'N Roses merely metal. Were The Clash "just" a punk band? Is Steve Earle little more than a country music simpleton? The Stones Muddy Waters wannabes? Come on!

Charles' point, "Folk is where she started but jazz is where she went," is a great one that can be applied to most restless artistic spirits. Great performers are constantly stretching their creative muscles, if you will, forever searching for that next breakthrough. As Charles also mentioned, Mitchell explored alternate guitar tunings. How is this any less adventurous than what Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo do -- albeit a whole lot louder -- with Sonic Youth? And the fact that Mingus would even consider working with Mitchell is huge. Mingus is a musical icon, a complex musical mind. Obviously, he found someone likeminded in Mitchell.

Lastly, Mitchell never writes reactionary protest songs or silly turn of the century story songs. Instead, she's true poet. I'm sure there are probably better examples, but I probably love her "Night Ride Home" best of all. It's a magical song that lulls me into its spell whenever I hear it. It's as though I become an invisible passenger in the back seat, watching Joni as she sings it.

Once in awhile
In a big blue moon
There comes a night like this
Like some surrealist
Invented this 4th of July
Night ride home

In another place she sings:

I love the man beside me
We love the open road
No phones till Friday
Far from the overkill
Far from the overload

Isn't that the ultimate utopian dream? To be a modern day Jack Kerouac, behind the wheel with no particular place to go (thank you, Chuck Berry), with nothing but a free and clear highway up ahead? If an artist can put me into such a mental high, there's no way you can place a street value on that a drug.

I don't have a clue what kind of musical magician Joni Mitchell is, but she is certainly no measly folksinger.
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