News archive

JoniMitchell.com has been bringing you the news on Joni since the day the website went live in 1996. It's all archived and searchable here. In addition to the news, you can find an archive of "upcoming tributes and events" that have been listed on the site as well.

News archive

In December 2015, the Smithsonian called on rock and roll lovers around the world to collect photos and stories of their favorite moments in music. Fans dug through attics, basements, closets, shoeboxes, digital cameras, and photo albums to contribute. Artists ranging from the Who to Nirvana to Chuck Berry to the Jimi Hendrix and many more are celebrated in the resulting book entitled "Smithsonian Rock and Roll: Live and Unseen". There is a photo of Joni included in the book taken by Jim Marshall that we had not seen before!

Verve and UMe will reissue Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters for its 10th anniversary this Friday, December 15. The original album, mostly featuring songs of Joni Mitchell, will be paired with a bonus EP of four additional recordings from the sessions. Two of them – covers of “A Case of You” and “All I Want” – were previously only available on an Amazon-exclusive pressing of the album, while the other pair, “Harlem In Havana” and “I Had a King,” were exclusive to iTunes. More information here.

The multiple fires threatening southern California have forced nearly 200,000 people in the Los Angeles and Ventura areas to evacuate. Those concerned about Joni can rest assured that she is safe and out of harm's way.

Jon Hendricks, a jazz singer who became famous in the 1950s with the vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross by putting lyrics to well-known jazz instrumentals and turning them into vocal tours de force, died today in New York City. He was 96. Joni often cites the group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross as a major early influence. Joni recorded their song Twisted on Court and Spark, the first song not written by herself that she released on one of her albums.

In a 1986 interview, Joni said "Friends of mine who were older than me and in college began talking about Lambert, Hendricks and Ross as the hottest new sound in jazz. Their record flipped me out, but it was already out of print. I had to finally buy it off somebody and pay a lot, maybe fifteen dollars, which was unheard of at that time. But you couldn't get the record anywhere. Lambert, Hendricks and Ross were my Beatles. In high school, theirs was the record I wore thin, the one I knew all the words to."

Susan Whitall, former Creem editor and Detroit News staffer for 30 years, will be releasing a new book called "Joni on Joni: Interviews and Encounters with Joni Mitchell" to be published by the Chicago Review Press in time for Joni's 75th birthday (November 2018). This book will be a compilation of interviews with Joni throughout the years. Susan told JoniMitchell.com "I don't think there have been enough books on Joni, not when you think of how many have been written about Dylan, or the Beatles." We agree. We're making space on our bookshelf. More info here as we get it.

Happy 74th birthday to Joni on the 7th! Leave your birthday greetings for her at WeLoveYouJoni.com. And the seasons, they go round and round...

Put your ear to the pavement on Military Street in downtown Port Huron, Michigan and you just might hear the beat of an almost unimaginably vibrant live music scene - one that vanished more than a half-century ago with the burning of the Dome in 1971.

"In the '50s, there were 17 clubs in Port Huron doing music almost seven nights a week," said Chris Troy, the St. Clair-based producer and director of the new film "Something in the Water: The History of Port Huron Music, Part I."

In the early 1960s, Joni played the Folk Cellar, below the old Military Street Cafe. So did Gordon Lightfoot. Joni was interviewed for the movie - premiering at McMorran Auditorium in Port Huron on November 11. Chris Troy plans a DVD release at some point, we'll have the news here when it's available.

Good things come in threes! Yet another book is in the works on Joni. This one will be called "Joni Mitchell: New Critical Readings", to be published by Bloomsbury late 2018 or early 2019. It’s a collection of critical essays (in the academic, not the negative sense) about Joni, and includes writings by Eric Lott, Gus Stadler, Pam Thurschwell and many others. The book is edited by Ruth Charnock, who hosted the Joni Mitchell Symposium in July of 2015. Further details will be posted here as we have them.

October 17 sees the release of David Yaffe's new book, "Reckless Daughter". "In this intimate biography, drawing on dozens of unprecedented in-person interviews with Mitchell, her childhood friends, and a cast of famous characters, Yaffe reveals the backstory behind the famous songs―from Mitchell’s youth in Canada, her bout with polio at age nine, and her early marriage and the child she gave up for adoption, through the love affairs that inspired masterpieces, and up to the present―and shows us why Mitchell has so enthralled her listeners, her lovers, and her friends. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music."

The US version of Barney Hoskyns' anthology releases on October 3. "From album reviews, incisive commentary, and candid conversations, Joni: The Anthology includes, among other things, a review of Mitchell's first-ever show at LA's Troubadour in June of 1968, a 1978 interview by musician Ben Sidran on jazz great Charles Mingus, a personal reminiscence by Ellen Sander, a confidant of the Los Angeles singer-songwriter community, and a long "director's cut" version of editor Barney Hoskyns' 1994 MOJO interview. A time capsule of an icon, the anthology spans the entirety of Joni's career between 1967-2007, as well as thoughtful commentary on her early years."

The musical lineup has been announced for PazFest IV, the New Orleans Tribute to Joni Mitchell to benefit the Ruth Paz Pediatric Surgery and Burn Hospital in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

This event takes place Sunday, Sept. 3, 2017, 7-11 p.m. at the beautiful Civic Theatre New Orleans. Tickets are $25 and are available in advance at http://www.civicnola.com/event/1531984

Musical lineup to feature: Chuck Mitchell, Judith Owen, Harry Shearer, Tommy Malone, Deacon John w/Sonny Schneidau, Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews Band/Flecktones), Paul Sanchez, Tonya Boyd-Cannon, A Celebration of Joni Mitchell featuring Kimberly Ford (from Santa Barbara California), Sean Ardoin, Debbie Davis, Matt Perrine, Alex McMurray, Phil DeGruy with Emily Robertson, Leslie Smith, Cary Hudson, Jim McCormick, Renshaw Davies, Henley Douglas, Jr., Krewe de Groove, Brandon Tarricone, Joe Tullos w/Randy Ellis and Kevin Aucoin, Dayna Kurtz, Kevin Stylez, Joshua Thomas, Jahida Esperanza (from Colorado), Enid (From Ottawa Canada), Christina Friis (from Denmark) with Larry Sieberth, Bryan Thomas, Cassie Krebs, Dirk Billie, Fatsy Cline, and surprise guests.

Read the full press release here.

Playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director Sam Shepard has passed away. Shepard, who had been ill with ALS for some time, died peacefully on July 30 at home in Kentucky, surrounded by his children and sisters. He was 73 years old.

Shepard is the author of forty-four plays - "True West" among them - as well as several books of short stories, essays, and memoirs. Shepard received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 for his play Buried Child. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in The Right Stuff.

Sam also toured with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Review and wrote the Rolling Thunder Logbook. Allegedly, Joni's song "Coyote" was written in large part about Sam.

Die-hard fans of Joni will know better, but there is a person 'selling tickets' to a Joni concert that is, of course, not happening. This person is using the email cassandrahood09@gmail.com, the twitter handle @jonimitchell070, and goes by the name Cassandra Hood or Cassandra Newton. This person asks for a payment through Western Union to another person, Jessica A Grimm with a New Market, Tennessee address. The scammer is also using an IP blocker to hide their real IP address. All this, of course is a fraud. Hopefully this news item will save a person or two from falling for this scam.

It is with regret that we announce the passing of John Uren, "the Godfather of Canadian Folk". John hired a young Joni Anderson to play at his coffeehouse in Calgary in September of 1963 - the first regular gig of her career. Joni at the time was an art student and John's belief in her talent arguably had an influence on Joni switching gears and pursuing a musical path.

John was an adventurer and a visionary, tackling many varied careers - cab driver, horse owner/trainer, magazine publisher, coffeehouse owner, folk festival promoter, filmmaker, and much more. Last September, John attended the 20th Anniversary Jonifest on BC's Sunshine Coast, just a few miles south of his home. He can be seen speaking at the event here.

John died Tuesday at his home in Powell River, BC. He was 81 years old. At his request there will be no service, celebration, or published obituary (although the Globe and Mail has done so). Many articles, spanning the decades, can be found on his rich life here on the website: 1963, 1972, 2005, and 2014.

Eric Anderson sings for Joni backstage before his performance at McCabe's in Santa Monica last night. (Photo by Steve Postell)

Introduced by a teary-eyed Jennifer Aniston, Sara Bareilles performed Joni's "Both Sides Now" as the vocal backing to an exceptionally powerful In Memoriam segment at the 2017 Oscars. The piece honored all who the academy and film industry had lost in the past year including singer/actor Prince, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gene Wilder, Mary Tyler Moore, Debbie Reynolds, her daughter Carrie Fisher and many more. Watch the video here.

Joni made a rare public appearance last night, attending Clive Davis' annual Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, where she was escorted by writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe and author Daniel Levitin (pictured with Joni).

Joni was honored as one of the greatest songwriters whose work has touched everyone in the music industry.

She had a good time and was particularly moved by Chance the Rapper and Mary J. Blige’s performances. Herbie Hancock came by and said an extended hello, as did many other well-wishers, including Stephen Stills and Clive Davis.