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Tune of the (yester)day: Joni Mitchell - A Case of You   Print

by Ffion Davies
Alt Sounds
February 12, 2013

How can you start to even honour such a talent as Joni Mitchell. A multi-talented artist that has had a career spanning from the late 60's until the 00's, who's a "painter derailed by circumstance." Joni's music is drenched in passion, disillusion, grace, elegance and a sense of longing nostalgia that resonates from decade to decade, maintaining an essence of contemporary, proving that her legacy and her music will stand the test of time.

She was a restless musician, experimenting and growing as an artist over the years, writing songs that's fuelled by love, or the loss of, and social circumstance. She's an extraordinary lady, and retaining as much autonomy surrounding her music as possible, which she conserved beautifully by adding her artistic flare to the artwork of each record, created by her fair hand. Joni Mitchell always wanted to challenge herself when it came to creating music, and her music evolved even further when she started to experiment with jazz, injecting a more complex harmony and melodic motifs into her music as she learnt more.

My favourite song is 'A Case of You' by the Canadian troubadour. The ballad depicts suffering and the loss of love so heartbreakingly perfect, it nearly brings me to tears, and probably would do if I wasn't feeling particularly strong that day. You can nearly hear the guitar weep as Joni is narrating the story of a love once enjoyed. She quotes "I am as constant as a northern star" from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, adding another dimension of romanticism to the song, as the play was one of the Bard's great tragedies.

Echoes of loneliness and abandonment is portrayed even further when Mitchell sings "I am a lonely painter", adding so much personal involvement, refusing to allow anyone else any ownership at all, even though countless artists have covered 'A Case of You', it'll always be Joni's story.

The track was released in 1971 from her Blue album, with Mitchell playing appalachian dulcimer, accompanied by James Taylor on acoustic guitar. In 2011, Joni Mitchell was voted the number 1 female artist and 'A Case of You' the number 1 female song by listeners of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs.

When all is said and done, Joni Mitchell's music and legacy will immortalise the beauty, elegance and desire that encapsulates what made Mitchell truly, truly special.

 

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