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Sufjan Stevens on Joni Mitchell

  • Thursday, May 31, 2007
    Sufjan Stevens on Joni Mitchell

    Sufjan Stevens is one of a dozen of today's finest singer/songwriters to offer his take on a classic Joni Mitchell tune on the recent Nonesuch release A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. Stevens opens the collection with his rendition of "Free Man in Paris." 

    "No other songwriter of her generation captured voice, tone, and point-of-view quite as precisely," says Stevens in an essay on his Asthmatic Kitty blog. "Some of her best songs embark on the persona of conversation, capturing the voice of the people she observed around her."

    "Free Man in Paris" is clearly one such song, telling, as it does, the story of media mogul David Geffen and an idealized respite from the pressures of life in Hollywood he found in Paris.

    Stevens writes of the approach he chose to take in interpreting the song and its story:

    I could not even presume to fathom the jazz voicings of the original, nor could I traverse the pronunciation of French avenues or Joni’s rollercoaster vocal lines. My approach was much more primitive: what would it sound like if David Geffen had, in fact, left the humdrum of the music industry for a fantasy weekend getaway to Paris? I decided to conjure up a party song, with strings and trumpets and trombones and vibraphones marching in a parade down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, all lit up with fireworks. Wouldn’t we all like to be there right now?

    Read more of Sufjan Stevens's thoughts on Joni Mitchell and the track he contributed to A Tribute to Joni Mitchell at ashtmatickitty.com.

on May 31, 2007 - 11:11pm
Excerpt: 

Sufjan Stevens offers his take on the classic Joni Mitchell tune "Free Man in Paris" on the recent Nonesuch release A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. "No other songwriter of her generation captured voice, tone, and point-of-view quite as precisely," says Stevens in an essay on his Asthmatic Kitty blog. "Some of her best songs embark on the persona of conversation, capturing the voice of the people she observed around her."

Copy: 

Sufjan Stevens is one of a dozen of today's finest singer/songwriters to offer his take on a classic Joni Mitchell tune on the recent Nonesuch release A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. Stevens opens the collection with his rendition of "Free Man in Paris." 

"No other songwriter of her generation captured voice, tone, and point-of-view quite as precisely," says Stevens in an essay on his Asthmatic Kitty blog. "Some of her best songs embark on the persona of conversation, capturing the voice of the people she observed around her."

"Free Man in Paris" is clearly one such song, telling, as it does, the story of media mogul David Geffen and an idealized respite from the pressures of life in Hollywood he found in Paris.

Stevens writes of the approach he chose to take in interpreting the song and its story:

I could not even presume to fathom the jazz voicings of the original, nor could I traverse the pronunciation of French avenues or Joni’s rollercoaster vocal lines. My approach was much more primitive: what would it sound like if David Geffen had, in fact, left the humdrum of the music industry for a fantasy weekend getaway to Paris? I decided to conjure up a party song, with strings and trumpets and trombones and vibraphones marching in a parade down the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, all lit up with fireworks. Wouldn’t we all like to be there right now?

Read more of Sufjan Stevens's thoughts on Joni Mitchell and the track he contributed to A Tribute to Joni Mitchell at ashtmatickitty.com.

Publish date: 
Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 20:11
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