Tuesday 12 November 2013

"I think I understand, Fear is like a wilder land, Stepping stones or sinking sand"

                                                                                                                                                                                 // image: johnsimpson.com //

This little post is a tribute to the great Joni Mitchell who celebrated her 70th birthday last week, and remains one of those special contributors to the soundtrack of my own life. Having found Joni during my first real explorations of music, as a teenager, something about her tragic tales, heart breaking blues, twisting melodies and the gritty honest songwriting appealed to my poetic vulnerability.

Starting out on her journey as a musician, Joni Mitchell began busking on the streets of Toronto, writing songs that tell of life, a travelled road, experiences and memories- her music was soon covered by many folk singers, eventually leading to her own record deal in the late 60s.

Joni's lyrics are often seen as poetry, drawn from watching the world around her, unapologetic and unafraid, she tells her story and sings her vision. The singular piano or guitar, used in many of her tracks, accompanies and compliments yet has its own voice, resonating against the spoken word, emphasising the sense of the piece.

"The Dawntreader"

Peridots and periwinkle blue medallions
Gilded galleons spilled across the ocean floor
Treasure somewhere in the sea and he will find where
Never mind their questions there's no answer for
The roll of the harbor wake
The songs that the rigging makes
The taste of the spray he takes
And he learns to give
He aches and he learns to live
He stakes all his silver
On a promise to be free
Mermaids live in colonies
All his seadreams come to me

City satins left at home I will not need them
I believe him when he tells of loving me
Something truthful in the sea your lies will find you
Leave behind your streets he said and come to me
Come down from the neon nights
Come down from the tourist sights
Run down till the rain delights you
You do not hide
Sunlight will renew your pride
Skin white by skin golden
Like a promise to be free
Dolphins playing in the sea
All his seadreams come to me

Seabird I have seen you fly above the pilings
I am smiling at your circles in the air
I will come and sit by you while he lies sleeping
Fold your fleet wings I have brought some dreams to share
A dream that you love someone
A dream that the wars are done
A dream that you tell no one but the grey sea
They'll say that you're crazy
And a dream of a baby
Like a promise to be free
Children laughing out to sea
All his seadreams come to me

Musician, poet but firstly painter, Joni uses creative mediums in many form to express her thoughts, her art speaks for itself and has always been at the fore front of her creative output. Many of her record covers are her own art work, reflecting the nature of the album contents, and reaching deeper levels of connecting with the artist herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                        //image: rareposters.us //

                                                                                                                                                                                      // image: uulyrics.com //

Joni Mitchell's music is as relevant now as it was in the 60s, capturing personal, social and political issues, thrusting them before you and peeling away the veil of blind acceptance and revealing truth and abrasive honesty.

Here are a few of my personal favourites, including some tribute covers of her work:

Two distinctively special tracks:

                                                                                                                                                                                      // image: guardian.com //                                                         

Happy birthday Joni!

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