Results for Joni Mitchell

specials

Rock & the Environment

Bill McKibben Musicians have effectively protested war, the AIDS crisis, and nuclear energy. Jim and Greg have talked about the central role music played in the Civil Rights Movement. But with global temperatures rising, are artists doing their part in battling climate change? To examine rock's relationship with the environment this Earth Day, we're joined by environmentalist Bill McKibben. Not only is Bill an author, scholar at Middlebury College, and co-founder of the grassroots climate organization 350.org, he's also a noted rock fan. They discuss the carbon footprint of the music industry from festivals to touring to recorded music manufacturing. But Bill argues the deeper problem is that musicians haven't adequately become part of the movement to influence culture through writing songs about the environment. But Bill, Jim, and Greg highlight the handful of successful environmental protest songs that do exist, from Joni Mitchell to Dr. Octagon.

One musician who's taking an active role in fighting climate change from within the industry is Adam Gardner, guitarist/vocalist for Guster. He's also the co-founder of REVERB, a non-profit dedicated to making bands' tours more sustainable, working with Alabama Shakes, Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews Band, and more. Adam also discusses REVERB's efforts to raise awareness of how endangered woods illegally make their way into our guitars.

Go to episode 543
reviews
Shine

Joni Mitchell Shine

The first album up for review is folk legend Joni Mitchell's first release in over nine years. The singer/songwriter famously quit the music biz in 2002 and criticized the record industry, calling it a“cesspool‘”full of“pornographic pigs.”So it’s surprising she's back at all, let alone with a Starbucks deal. For the album Shine, Mitchell has joined Paul McCartney on the Hear Music label, owned by the coffee chain. Jim is shocked by her choice to associate herself with such megalithic corporation, but Greg understands why someone who doesn't get commercial radio play would go this route. The music itself is another story. Jim absolutely“hated”this record. He realizes that dissing Joni Mitchell might get him kicked out of the critic's club, but after seven listens, he found no reason not to Trash It. Greg thinks Joni's harmonics, chords and voicing are as good as ever, but he doesn't find many traces of the great songwriting fans heard with "Big Yellow Taxi." He wished the lyrics had a little more poetry and a little less-finger pointing. That said, according to Greg Joni's always worth hearing, so he gives Shine a Try It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 96
A Tribute to Joni MitchellA Tribute to Joni Mitchell available on iTunes

Joni Mitchell & Elvis Costello & James Taylor & Sufjan Stevens & Prince & Caetano Veloso A Tribute to Joni Mitchell

The last album up for review is A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. On this album, tracks penned by the famous songwriter are performed by Prince, Sufjan Stevens, James Taylor and Elvis Costello among them. Greg explains that Joni Mitchell is a difficult artist to cover, and with the exception of singers like Caetano Veloso, many of the artists on this tribute just simply aren't good enough to tackle her work. Jim agrees, noting that all of the artists on the album are on the Nonesuch roster. He predicts that the record would have been stronger if more obscure performers were chosen. Therefore A Tribute to Joni Mitchell gets two Burn Its.

JimGreg
Go to episode 79
River: The Joni LettersRiver: The Joni Letters available on iTunes

Herbie Hancock River: The Joni Letters

So did Hancock deserve the award? Herbie Hancock is a critically acclaimed pianist who many listeners will remember for composing the 1983 jazz-hip hop fusion track "Rockit." But, according to Greg, this is a case of“right artist, wrong year.”Hancock's winning album River: The Joni Letters is by no means the musician's finest work. With the exception of the one track on which Joni Mitchell sings, most of the songs have unsuccessful vocals. Greg gives this“muzak”album a Burn It. Jim calls River a“stultifyingly mediocre record”that isn't a fair representation of the year in music. The Recording Academy might give the album an award, but he gives it a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 116
dijs

Greg

“"You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio"”Joni Mitchell

Greg's been in a Joni Mitchell phase, and is particularly smitten with the singer/songwriter's 1976 release For the Roses. Between her folk phase and her avant-jazz phase, she released this record with the track "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio". Is it directed towards a romantic figure? Or a record company one? Add that question to the layers of sounds and influences from country to Latin to jazz, and you've got one wonderfully complicated song.

Go to episode 375
news

Music News

First up in the news Jim and Greg discuss Joni Mitchell's decision to team up with Starbucks. Her first album in almost 10 years will be released on the coffee chain's Hear Music label. Jim and Greg imagine that the singer/songwriter must have been impressed with the success of Paul McCartney's recent Starbucks-released album Memory Almost Full, especially considering her notorious distaste of the music industry. One group they are surprised to hear has joined the coffee family is Sonic Youth. The alt-rockers will release a compilation on Hear Music next year.

Jim and Greg update some stories they've discussed on current shows. The first concerns pop star Kelly Clarkson. When her album My December was released a few weeks ago, our hosts talked about Clarkson's high-profile feud with BMG chairman Clive Davis. The singer appeared to be taking a tough-girl stance and defended her artistic integrity, but now she's trying to lay it all to rest. Check out her retraction.

Another topic Jim and Greg covered on the show is the scrutiny hip hop lyrics have been facing post-Imus. A recent victim is Chicago rapper Twista. McDonalds decided to pull the speed rapper from its Live Trek tour because of his“controversial lyrics.”Twista's response is that he's been making the same kind of rhymes for years, but no one cared until Don Imus said something negative about black women. He also added that he usually cleans up lyrics for kid-friendly performances.

While the gossip pages are filled with celebrities who aren't forced to pay for their crimes, singer Ron Isley is no such lucky star. He is slated to begin his five-year prison sentence for tax evasion next week, but Def Jam is hoping that Isley fans can convince the government otherwise. They sent out a petition imploring people to“call, fax or email the White House immediately to help the 64-year old cancer sufferer.”If you'd like to join in the effort you can call the President at (202) 456-1414, email him at president@whitehouse.gov, or contact the Congressional Black Caucus.

Last week Eric Clapton held the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, IL, and Greg was there to see the action. He recounts how historic it was to see Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton play together 38 years after Blind Faith disbanded. Greg's other highlights were witnessing B.B. King give what might be his final performance and hearing Jeff Beck do a beautiful rendition of The Beatles' "Day in the Life." Check out Greg's entire recap here.

Go to episode 88

Music News

Greg recently returned from the Future of Music Policy Summit in Washington D.C. Two of the central themes of the summit were how people will get more access to the internet and how artists will get paid. Senator Al Franken and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski both spoke about these issues and passionately expressed support for net neutrality. But Franken and Genachowski also stressed that any internet activity that violates artist copyright could not be tolerated. Because it's difficult to tell if p2p activity is legal or illegal, the question remains: how do you reconcile these two ideals?

Call her vain, but Carly Simon needs a little more tender, loving care. She is suing Starbucks, saying that the coffee company's now-defunct music label, Hear Music, didn't adequately promote her 2008 album This Kind of Love. Jim and Greg see this is as the final piece in the Hear Music tale. At first it was seen as a great, alternative way for musicians like James Taylor and Joni Mitchell to market their music, and a way for the coffee company to morph into a tastemaking brand. Now, only a couple of years later, everyone agrees Starbucks should stick to lattes.

Go to episode 203