Joni Mitchell turned seventy-five this year and I tried to write a song recommendation but really, have you ever tried to choose one Joni song for anything? I mean the woman is an influencer.
I always cite her as my single greatest influence. Multitudes of singer-songwriters, artists and writers say she is the one who has had the greatest impact on their work. The woman is a genius, a one of a kind. Her art resonates through generations. It endures and will be around long after my ashes are spread.
I grew up surrounded by her in my childhood home. In another essay that grew too long while trying to write a single song recommendation I wrote about my Top Five Goose Bump moments:
5) July 6, 1983 — “Chinese Cafe” Joni Mitchell Poplar Creek Music Theatre, Chicago
4) 0400 Jan 1, 1982: “A Case of You”, lying in my bed, KUFM radio, Missoula, MT
3) Spring 1973: “Little Green” -My baby brother’s first christening, St. Anthony’s Church, Missoula, MT
2) October 1992: “Hejira” Driving HWY 200 along the Blackfoot River, MT
1) August 2, 1989: “Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire” garage, pile of snow tires, Missoula, MT
Clearly, she has been there for all of them. I can recite her lyrics and liner notes from every album and the inspiration for almost every song. Brandi Carlile is going to perform the entire Blue album this fall in Seattle and I can hardly wait for that recording to be released.
Joni Mitchell is the quintessential artist and influencer, she has been with me for as long as I can remember — part of her pours out of me in these lines from time to time…
I leave you with “Hejira” but go ahead and try to choose one song that doesn’t find it’s way into you. Happy Birthday, Joni.
(Song recommendation by Erin L. Cork)