25 Days Of Christmas Music 2022: Day 2

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

day 1

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Yesterday’s song was by Elton John who is retiring from the road. Well, as one legend leaves the live stage, another one has returned to it in an incredibly triumphant way. Joni Mitchell performed at the Newport Folk Festival this summer after years of recovery from a medical event. It was a glorious moment for her and those of us who have followed her career and believed in her words, music, talent and artistry.

I learned she was slowly making her way back over the last few years by hosting “Joni Jams” in the living room of her home to play with many of her famous friends. Now Mitchell has announced some show dates for 2023. And on the subject of Elton John again, he hosted an episode of his Rocket Hour show last month right from Mitchell’s house. It is an absolutely delightful interview in which John pointed out “music brought her back to life”. Amen. Say it with me: Music is the answer.

Today’s pick is one of Mitchell’s most beloved and most covered tracks. I love the original version she recorded for her 1971 album, Blue. It was reissued last year for its 50th anniversary and went to #1. My absolute favorite cover of this track was recorded by actor Robert Downey Jr. in 2000 for his role as Larry Paul on “Ally McBeal”. It has a cello arrangement that is absolutely exquisite. In the spirit of this giving season, I am presenting both for your enjoyment.

Welcome back, Joni Mitchell. We missed you.

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
“.

Joni

robert downey jr

Top: Joni Mitchell on stage at the Newport Folk Festival in July 2022. Bottom: Robert Downey Jr. circa 2000. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Joni Mitchell: “River” (1971, written by Joni Mitchell).

Robert Downey Jr.: “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell).

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Music Monday: August 1, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Unless you were asleep for most of last weekend, you know that music-actually life, for that matter-got a much needed win during this year that just will not stop disappointing us. On Sunday July 24, the legend known as Joni Mitchell made an unexpected yet glorious return to the stage at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival.

Joni2

Joni Mitchell on stage at the Newport Folk Festival on July 24, 2022. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

She sang, she played guitar & she brought the crowd to their feet proving she is still as vibrant & as moving as ever. This after fighting her way back from a serious health crisis-a brain aneurysm in 2015-that took her out of commission. I learned she has been slowly making her way back over the last few years, mostly by way of the “Joni Jams” she hosted in her living room to stay in touch with her musical friends. Earlier this year she was named Musicares Person Of The Year and last year she was celebrated as a Kennedy Centers Honor recipient.

If you need a crash course in her genius, influence & reach, there is a whole 2013 “Parenthood” episode centered around her music (S5 E4, “In Dreams Begin Responsibility”), not to mention an endless supply of YouTube videos to choose from.

The last time Mitchell played at Newport was 53 years ago in 1969. That was the same year she released today’s song. She has written some really beautiful ones in her life but this one makes me tear up every time. It took me years to appreciate the talent of this woman and for that I will always feel ashamed. But this track is her pinnacle, as was her performance last weekend on a magical stage in New England.

But now old friends are acting strange
They shake their heads they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost but something’s gained
In living every day
“.

joni-mitchell-2022-musicares-person-year-py_22_editorial_1644x925-4

Joni Mitchell circa 1969. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Joni Mitchell: “Both Sides Now” (1969, written by Joni Mitchell).

Stay safe and well.