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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Christie D'Zurilla

Joni Mitchell tells Elton John what fans have hoped for: A new album might be coming

We might be able to expect a new release from Joni Mitchell soon in the wake of her surprise summer appearance at the Newport Folk Festival.

The “Both Sides Now” artist shared the news in a new interview on Apple Music 1’s “Elton John’s Rocket Hour.”

“I’ve seen you through music,” John says in the interview, “and, of course, your incredible rehabilitation, but music has helped you so much, and it’s beautiful to watch you evolve. And people out there, you haven’t heard things from the Newport Folk Festival yet, but I think there’s going to be an album coming out of that one?”

“Yeah, we’re trying to put that out,” Mitchell replies, adding — at John’s prompt — that she “didn’t have any” rehearsals before performing this summer.

“And you stood up and played guitar,” he says.

“Yeah, that I had to figure out what I did,” she answers. “And I couldn’t sing the key, I’ve become an alto. I’m not a soprano anymore, so I couldn’t sing the song. And I thought people might feel slighted that if I just played the guitar part, but I like the guitar part to that song.

“So anyway, it was very well received, much to my delight.”

Mitchell, who suffered a brain aneurysm rupture in 2015, also shares what people thought about her work when it first came out, saying she thought it “made people nervous.”

“At the time ... it took a lot of flack if anything,” she says. “People thought that it was too intimate. It was almost like Dylan going electric. I think it upset the male singer-songwriters. They’d go, ‘Oh, no. Do we have to bare our souls like this now?’ ... It took to this [new] generation; they seem to be able to face those emotions more easily than my generation.”

The “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” singer also shares his “big ambition” for Mitchell: He wants her to record an album in the space where they are talking at Mitchell’s home in Los Angeles.

“One day I want you to sit in this room, like we’re doing now, but with some recording equipment. I want you to make an album in this room,” he tells her. “Like Johnny Cash did with ‘Hurt,’ and he was on his deathbed. You’re not going to be on your deathbed. I think you should make an album in this room because it’s so magical.”

John says that every corner of that room screams “Joni Mitchell.”

“I’ve been to a lot of places in my life, but this room is one of the most special rooms I’ve ever been to in my whole life,” he adds. “And I really want you to consider making a record, maybe a new song. The way you are going, you are tearing up the world at the moment.”

Mitchell’s reply?

“We did some background vocals up in the balcony once,” she says. “That’s the only time we’ve recorded in this room.”

Let’s hope John gets his wish.

In the meantime, Mitchell’s fans can expect the iconic musician to perform a sold-out show next June in George, Wash. The so-called “Joni Jam” is part of Echoes Through the Canyon, a weekend of shows with Brandi Carlile, who has championed Mitchell in recent years.


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