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Joni Mitchell

Canadian-born singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell emerged into the spotlight in the late '60s, after artists including Judy Collins, folkies Ian & Sylvia, and Fairport Convention had made successful recordings of her songs. She connected with such artists as David Crosby, who produced her debut album, and soon became part of the creative ferment of L.A.'s Laurel Canyon scene. (Later, Crosby, Stills & Nash were to have a hit with her composition "Woodstock.") Over the years she moved from her acoustic-guitar roots and experimented with many techniques and styles, refusing to be pigeonholed or to compromise her artistic integrity -- a quality that made her a role model for subsequent generations of female artists as varied as Patti Smith, Madonna, Tori Amos, and Courtney Love. (She inspired other forms of adulation, too -- consider the up-and-coming SF band the Court & Spark.) Along the way she collaborated with many musicians, perhaps most notably jazz great Charles Mingus, who died midway through the project that ultimately bore his name, but also Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, Tom Petty and more. In 2002, around the time her most recent album, the two-CD Travelogue, shipped, she was widely quoted in the press as saying she was so disgusted with the record business that she was retiring, though she appeared to be wavering in the matter some weeks later.

Written by: Mary Eisenhart

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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
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