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      Classic 60's and 70's female vocalist
      Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter.[1] Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Western Canada and then busking on the streets of Toronto. In the mid-1960s she left for New York City and its rich fo... read more

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      Bio

      Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter.[1]

      Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Western Canada and then busking on the streets of Toronto. In the mid-1960s she left for New York City and its rich folk music scene, recording her debut album in 1968 and achieving fame first as a songwriter ("Urge for Going", "Chelsea Morning", "Both Sides Now", "Woodstock") and then as a singer in her own right.[2] Finally settling in Southern California, Mitchell played a key part in the folk rock movement then sweeping the musical landscape. Blue, her starkly personal 1971 album, is regarded as one of the strongest and most influential records of the time.[3] Mitchell also had pop hits such as "Big Yellow Taxi", "Free Man in Paris", and "Help Me", the last two from 1974's best-selling Court and Spark.[4]

      Mitchell's soprano vocals, distinctive harmonic guitar style, and piano arrangements all grew more complex through the 1970s as she was deeply influenced by jazz, melding it with pop, folk and rock on experimental albums like 1976's Hejira. She worked closely with jazz greats including Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Herbie Hancock, and on a 1979 record released after his death, Charles Mingus.[5] From the 1980s on, Mitchell reduced her recording and touring schedule but turned again toward pop, making greater use of synthesizers and direct political protest in her lyrics, which often tackled social and environmental themes alongside romantic and emotional ones.

      Mitchell's work is highly respected both by critics and fellow musicians. Rolling Stone magazine called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever,"[6] while Allmusic said, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century."[7] By the end of the century, Mitchell had a profound influence on artists in genres ranging from R&B to alternative rock to jazz.[8] Mitchell is also a visual artist. She made the artwork for each of her albums, and in 2000 described herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance."[9] A blunt critic of the music industry, Mitchell had stopped recording over the last several years, focusing more attention on painting, but in 2007 she released Shine, her first album of new songs in nine years.

      In an October 2006 interview with The Ottawa Citizen, Mitchell "revealed she's recording her first collection of new songs in nearly a decade", but gave few other details.[18] Four months later, in an interview with The New York Times, Mitchell said that the forthcoming album, titled Shine, was inspired by the war in Iraq and "something her grandson had said while listening to family fighting: 'Bad dreams are good—in the great plan'".[29] Early media reports characterized the album as having "a minimal feel... that harks back to [Mitchell's] early work", and a focus on political and environmental issues.[21]

      In February 2007, Mitchell also returned to Calgary and served as an advisor for the Alberta Ballet Company premiere of "The Fiddle and the Drum", a dance choreographed to both new and old songs. Mitchell also filmed portions of the rehearsals for a documentary she's working on. Of the flurry of recent activity she quipped, "I've never worked so hard in my life."[29]

      In summer 2007, Mitchell's official fan-run site confirmed speculation that she had signed a two-record deal with Starbucks' Hear Music label. Shine was released by the label on September 25, 2007.[30]

      On the same day, Herbie Hancock, a longtime associate and friend of Mitchell's, released River: The Joni Letters, an album paying tribute to Mitchell's work. Among the album's contributors were Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Leonard Cohen, and Mitchell herself, who contributed a vocal to the re-recording of "The Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms)" (originally on her album Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm).[31] On February 10, 2008, Hancock's recording won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. It was the first time in 43 years that a jazz artist took the top prize at the annual award ceremony. In accepting the award, Hancock paid tribute to Mitchell as well as to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. At the same ceremony Mitchell won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Pop Performance for the opening track "One Week Last Summer" from her album Shine.

      As of early 2009, Mitchell is in the midst of treatments for Morgellons syndrome, an infectious and potentially debilitating skin condition that has put other endeavors on hold.

      While some of Mitchell's most popular songs were written on piano, almost every song she composed on the guitar uses an open, or non-standard, tuning; she has written songs in some 50 different tunings, which she has referred to as "Joni's weird chords". The use of alternative tunings allows more varied and complex harmonies to be produced on the guitar, without the need for difficult chord shapes. Indeed, many of Joni's guitar songs use very simple chord shapes, but her use of alternative tunings and a highly rhythmic picking/strumming style creates a rich and unique guitar sound. Her right-hand picking/strumming technique has evolved over the years from an initially intricate picking style, typified by the guitar songs on her first album, to a looser and more rhythmic style, sometimes incorporating percussive "slaps", that have been featured on later albums.

      Mitchell's longtime archivist, the San Francisco-based Joel Bernstein, maintains a detailed list of all her tunings, and has assisted her in relearning the tunings for several older songs.[33][34]

      Mitchell was also highly innovative harmonically in her early work (1966-72) using techniques including modality, polymodality, chromaticism, polytonality, and strict pedal points.[35]

      In 2003 Rolling Stone named her the 72nd greatest guitarist of all time; she was the highest-ranked woman on the list.

      (From Wikipedia)
      http://music.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=music.artistalbums&artistid=50428&ap=0&albumid=8471113

      Categories: Music | Vocal | Folk | Rock | Pop

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