Brandi Carlyle presents behind-the-scenes details of Joni Mitchell’s surprise appearance at the Newport Folk Festival on Saturday, her first full-length live set in more than 20 years and her first performance at that event since 1969 was. Carlyle was one of many to join Mitchell for performances of “Both Sides Now,” “Big Yellow Taxi” and more.
“I know Joni loved being on stage again. Absolutely loved it,” Carlyle wrote in a first-person piece for London many times, “He told me after the show, ‘I was happy and honored. It bugged me for this.'”
Carlyle revealed that she met Michelle at the iconic folk singer’s 75th birthday tribute ceremony in Los Angeles in 2018, when Kris Kristofferson invited her to perform the female song of “A Case of You.” Later, Carlyle and his wife, Katherine Shepherd, went out to dinner with Michelle, where they became friends. Michelle also brought up the idea of making music together.
“He asked me if I wanted to bring some groups of people together and play in the living room and drink and sing and hang out. And I said, ‘Yeah, absolutely,'” she wrote . “And then she put her hand on my arm – I’ll never forget it – she looked at me and she went, ‘Really? Are you in?’ I was like, ‘F*** yeah, I’m in.’ Two weeks later we had our first jam.”
Carlyle said she was impressed to see how much progress Michelle has made since that first meeting; He suffered a brain aneurysm in 2015, which required him to teach himself to walk again.
Over the next few years, the so-called Joni James was held monthly at Mitchell’s home in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles. Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Harry Styles, Chaka Khan, Meryl Streep and Herbie Hancock all attended. Oscar winner Actress Kathy Bates is the one who put the guitar back in Michelle’s hands on one such occasion.
Carlile said a MusicCare concert tribute to Mitchell in April further piqued the folk music veteran’s interest in returning to the stage.
“She loved that concert, and loved getting up on stage and singing the last line of ‘Big Yellow Taxi,'” Carlyle wrote. “She decided to move to Newport after that.” But the agreement was pretty much that we’d just sit in a circle and play songs, like we always do at Johnny James. Sometimes Joni sings and sometimes she doesn’t want to.”
Despite being nearly out of the event, Michelle sang more and more during her set, Carlile said. She said that she had chosen songs that Michelle particularly liked in her jam sessions.
She wrote, “In the last few years, coming on stage with a friend, I have started falling in love like family.”
While Carlyle admitted that she wasn’t attached to Michelle’s music at first – “I think it comes down to my age and my battles and my battles with gender identity and what I perceived as feminine women.” isn’t able to connect to her” – but she really discovered her inventory over the next decade. In January 2019, Carlyle told Yahoo Entertainment that his now wife had reissued the album, with the caveat that she could not be with him until she deciphered Mitchell’s 1971 album. Blue, And she was serious!
Now 41, Carlyle called Michelle “a huge inspiration” and praised Blue as “probably the greatest album of all time.”
The Highwoman singer summarized what the festival meant for her friend: “I think Joanie has some joy in showing people that she still can. But also in showing people that she still can.” It’s here. She doesn’t want to count. There’s an overblown awareness of where that world is right now and how easily we can count people. Women in particular, women of a certain age.”