Joni Mitchell and her songs have been like personal friends for much of my life. Her iconic album, Blue, blew me away as a teenager and since then I have played her music or it has popped into my head almost every day.
So, Joni’s book, Joni Mitchell – Morning Glory On the Vine. full of her handwritten lyrics interspersed with her amazing art, is at once so special and familiar. Each song-sheet an emotion or memory, each line a piece of the past and the here and now.
Without doubt one of the most important artists in modern times, Joni is a unique, blistering singer/musician and a beautiful poet. Her lyrics transcend, like Bob Dylan’s but in a different way - more romantic, more mournful, more descriptive and always there is a yearning for freedom and the road. Life becomes a travelogue ... a line from Amelia, one of her most glorious song from the album Hejira.
But Joni’s talents stretch much further. As Morning Glory on the Vine demonstrates, for many years she has also been a rich and distinctive artist – her drawings revealing even greater horizons to her creativity. This beautiful book is a gold mine of her lyrics and peppered with examples of her wonderful, at times strange, visual art.
A fundamental aspect of Joni Mitchell’s musical genius has always been her courage and tenacity to embrace the new, go in a different direction, never get caught in a rut.
The style, tone and concept of Blue is so different from her The Hissing of Summer Lawns. And Joni’s pictures also reflect this same drive for variety. A walk through Morning Glory on the Vine showcases an eclectic range of styles and a thirst for colour.
This quality produced book covers the early songs and drawings but holding and reading it gives you an almost physical sensation of an extraordinary creative life in the round. As the title of my favourite Joni song says … a true Woman of Heart and Mind.
Joni Mitchell – Morning Glory on the Vine is published by Canongate