Fans of Joni Mitchell, get the Kleenex ready. Tonight’s PBS program, Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, pays homage to the iconic singer-songwriter with renditions of some of her greatest hits by her peers James Taylor and Herbie Hancock as well as admirers Brandi Carlile and Diana Krall.
They include the songs “Carey” by Marcus Mumford, “River” by Herbie Hancock and Ledisi, and “Help Me” by Angélique Kidjo.
Before presenting at the Newport Folk Festival last year, Mitchell herself, who had largely ceased singing in the previous two decades, captivated the crowd with a crystal-clear and opulent performance of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.”
At Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., the performance was held on March 1. Musical odes are intermingled with images and clips from Mitchell’s entire career throughout the PBS programme that chronicles the occasion. As her colleagues and partners take the stage, her graphic art serves as the background.
Before awarding Mitchell the reward, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden says, “Joni Mitchell’s music hits you straight to your heart, down to your soul.” You could say that she has helped us all genuinely see both perspectives now.
Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, the late Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, and Smokey Robinson are just a few of the artists who have won the Gershwin Prize in the past.
“Creative is who I am. In a statement, Mitchell said, “I enjoy the artistic process. “I’ve spent my entire existence painting. Most of my time has been spent as a performer. Words can be painted with if you can colour with a stick. Being included in the list of winners is a tremendous honour.