This July will see five of Australia’s most outstanding voices come together in celebration of the music of Joni Mitchell. Both Sides Now – Celebrating the Songs of Joni Mitchell, will feature Ella Hooper, Kate Miller-Heidke, Kristin Berardi, Rachel Gaudry and Wendy Matthews, who will be backed by an exceptional 12-piece band. Performing some of the most iconic songs of our generation, Both Sides Now will be showcased in Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland over three consecutive evenings.
Titled as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Canadian artist Joni Mitchell has acted as an inspiration to women, songwriters and performers across the globe, including the likes of Australian alternative pop singer Wendy Matthews, who is set to perform a leading role in the Both Sides Now shows.
Growing up in Canada with young parents of the ‘60s, Matthews says Joni Mitchell had “a huge presence” in both her household and during her growing up.
“My parents were right with her from the start,” she continues. “And she’s had different places in different times of my life I suppose, in my heart.
“I’ve always completely appreciated her poetry – she’s a freak of a musician as well, you know, she to me speaks for not only women, but just on a deeper level of thinking.”
Drawing from elements of folk, pop, rock and jazz, Joni’s music is known to explore social and environmental contexts, as well as her feelings surrounding the likes of joy, romance, confusion and disillusionment.
“I find her (Joni’s) lyrics incredibly intelligent – she can find the words for very deep feelings that we all somehow seem to know what she’s talking about,” says Matthews. “She’s active, on so many levels.”
“Her love songs really speak to me – they have a certain honesty and cynicism to them, a sense of reality that I can relate to,” she explains. “And because I grew up with Joni Mitchell in my household, both hearing and telling her stories, that’s generally the way I think now in part, as far as influence goes.
“Her political stances equally mean a great depth to me as well – the issues she speaks about in her songs and the way she speaks about these issues, it makes me want to land on my knees.”
Joni Mitchell has proven to be so much more than a simple singer-songwriter; she is also a painter, poet, activist and ultimately, the voice of a generation. Her music acts as a significant part of the soundtrack to the twentieth-century, for which she continues to gather accolades, including nine Grammy awards and entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Boasting a list of unforgettable tracks, such as Big Yellow Taxi, Both Sides Now, Woodstock, Circle Game and A Case of You, Matthews says the celebration of Joni Mitchell’s music is “needed in the world on so many levels.”
“It’s the depth and the coming together of women, the coming together of people – of musicians,” she continues. “It really just means a lot to each and every one of us to be celebrating this album, in so many ways.”
When & Where: Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne – Tuesday July 17.
Tickets available via www.bothsidesnowlive.com
Written by Helena Metzke