Sufjan Stevens on Joni Mitchell

Browse by:
Year
Browse by:
Publish date (field_publish_date)
Submitted by nonesuch on Thu, 05/31/2007 - 23:11
Article Type
Publish date
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.

featuredimage
"A Tribute to Joni Mitchell" [cover]
  • Friday, June 1, 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.

    Journal Articles:Artist Essays

Enjoy This Post?

Get weekly updates right in your inbox.
terms

X By submitting my information, I agree to receive personalized updates and marketing messages about Nonesuch based on my information, interests, activities, website visits and device data and in accordance with the Privacy Policy. I understand that I can opt-out at any time by emailing privacypolicy@wmg.com.

Thank you!
x

Welcome to Nonesuch's mailing list!

Customize your notifications for tour dates near your hometown, birthday wishes, or special discounts in our online store!
terms

By submitting my information, I agree to receive personalized updates and marketing messages about Nonesuch based on my information, interests, activities, website visits and device data and in accordance with the Privacy Policy. I understand that I can opt-out at any time by emailing privacypolicy@wmg.com.

Related Posts

  • Monday, January 30, 2023
    Monday, January 30, 2023

    "There are times when we find ourselves isolated and alone, or in reflection and solitude," Julia Bullock writes in the liner notes to her solo debut album, Walking in the Dark. "There are other times when we choose to connect to further understand each other, which provides us with an opportunity to share our evolving identities—maybe even better discern how to communicate. And who knows ... if our intentions are translated well enough and are clearly in focus, it may lead to some moments of illumination." You can read her note here.

    Journal Topics: Artist Essays
  • Wednesday, October 12, 2022
    Wednesday, October 12, 2022

    "Finally bringing this recording to your ears, after so many years ... is a tremendous exhale and a collective accomplishment made possible by many small and many giant acts of generosity," Shara Nova writes in a new essay about the creation of The Blue Hour, a song cycle collaboration among composers Rachel Grimes, Angélica Negrón, Caroline Shaw, Sarah Kirkland Snider, and Nova, who performs the piece with the commissioning chamber orchestra A Far Cry on the album out this Friday.

    Journal Topics: Album ReleaseArtist EssaysArtist News