Shine (Hear Music)
This tasty new disc from the sweet songstress of Saskatchewan, hailed as her return from retirement, occupies a comfortable middle ground between her early '70's pop period and her later jazz-inflected albums.
Mitchell, it goes without saying, has proved herself to be a singular artist, so anything she records is worth a close listen. Instrumentally, you hear echoes of everything from Blue and Ladies of the Canyon to Hejira and Night Ride Home, especially in her use of unorthodox guitar tunings, sweet saxophone and other synthesized woodwinds. Lyrically, her themes are unabashedly eco-friendly. Her mellow new version of Big Yellow Taxi, with its parking lots and tree museums, does have an "I told you so" air about it.
What makes Mitchell's music so compelling is her overall sound, reflective, elegant and regal, on everything from the haunting sax line in Hana to the beautiful melody of This Place.
The album breaks no significant new ground, but it's a welcome addition to the great lady's ongoing canon.