Song of the Week No. 7 - Joni Mitchell - Let the Wind Carry Me

I heard on the radio that Joni Mitchell had had an aneurism and lost the ability to use her voice.  It felt to me like her two great artistic loves - music and painting - had been at war and one of them had finally won.  I wasn't too sad because I knew she'd been ill for some time and I started grieving when I first heard.  Grieving to me is not reserved just for death, but for the ending of anything, even if it's temporary.  In a way, Joni taught me that.  She taught me that being sad is a part of everything, and not something to be avoided, but instead something to explore.  She has looked at emotion from all sides now, and can communicate it in the most personal way I can imagine an artist doing, complete with all the complexity, the nuance, and the conflict we like to layer over it.

As it turns out, I now find she doesn't have an issue with her voice (other than the amazing metamorphoses it has been through over the years), and she is expected to make a full recovery.  That's wonderful news, and I welcome any more reflections and stories she might care to share with us when she's better, but if, as it seems she prefers, she chooses to shrink from the limelight, that's okay with me.  She's given me the blessing of her companionship in song for so many decades, and I'm able to dip into that deep-flowing river any time, from any of the bends formed over an always-adventurous, ever-changing career.  Did you know Rolling Stone ranked her the 72nd greatest guitarist of all time, the highest woman on that list?  How cool is that?

I could have chosen any number of songs, but this one from her 1972 For the Roses LP is interesting for being a transitional piece, from a time she was beginning to stretch out from her folk roots and experiment with arrangements.  I remember when I first heard it being entranced by the soaring, slightly jazzy backing, combing ethereal vocals and winds, along with lyrics that evoke youthful self-discovery and drifting into the unknown.

Leave a comment

Add comment