Joni Mitchell celebrated by Sheffield tribute band

The music of iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell is being celebrated at a concert in Sheffield.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 4:38 pm
Sarah Miller playing guitar
Sarah Miller playing guitar

Five-piece tribute band Both Sides Now will be playing some of Mitchell’s best-known songs, including Big Yellow Taxi, Woodstock and Blue, at The Greystones tomorrow. It will be the second time the band has visited the popular Sheffield venue.

Both Sides Now features singer Sarah Miller, keys player Aidan Goldstraw, Nick Mellor on guitar, OIlie Collins on bass and drummer Carl Hemmingsley.

Between them, the musicians’ CVs include work with Badly Drawn Boy, Corrine Bailey-Rae, Ruby Turner, Climax Blues Band and former Eagles guitarist Don Felder.

Sarah said: “This year is a significant one for Joni’s fans, as it marks both the 45th anniversary of one her most commercially successful albums, The Hissing of Summer Lawns.”

Mitchell herself retired from the music scene more than a decade ago and is rarely seen in public now after suffering a brain aneurysm in 2015.

Aidan, the band’s co-leader, said: “Unfortunately, we’re no longer going to see Joni performing her incredible back catalogue herself, so our mission is to keep her legacy going in the live performance space.

“This is where these songs have always been shown to their best advantage, especially the later jazz-influenced material.”

Sarah and Adrian both describe themselves as lifelong obsessives of Joni Mitchell.

Adrian said: “During my teenage years, a friend gave me a taped copy of Court and Spark – it was unlike anything I’d heard before in my life.

“Joni’s music was the soundtrack to my time at uni and since that time.”

Sarah said: “Joni has always been my absolute favourite of all the singer-songwriters of that period.

“Every song in her catalogue is wonderful, and the biggest challenge of putting this band together is that we have to choose just a few for each show.”

Meanwhile, a portrait of Joni used in Both Sides Now’s publicity campaign is keeping another legacy alive, that of its American artist.

Aidan said: “I came across the image on the internet and knew it was perfect for promoting the band.”

He subsequently discovered that the painter, Carolyn Hall Young from Santa Fe in New Mexico, had died around a year earlier following a battle with cancer.

Aidan managed to contact the artist’s husband Warren and obtained his permission to use the artwork. In return, Both Sides Now is contributing to a memorial fund set up in Carolyn’s name to help cancer victims.

Warren said: “Carolyn was a huge fan of Joni and I know that she would feel excited about having her art used in this way.”

Carolyn studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design, including a period in Rome as an honour student.

Her artwork was created after she heard the news of Joni’s aneurysm. She described it at the time as a ‘prayer’ for the artist’s recovery and comfort.

Aidan added: “We’re extremely grateful to Warren for allowing us to use the portrait and we are also proud that in our own, small way, we’re helping to keep alive the memory of such a talented artist.”

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