‘It’s such a spectacular, well-crafted album’: Katie Noonan on bringing ‘Blue: The Songs of Joni Mitchell’ to Geelong

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‘It’s such a spectacular, well-crafted album’: Katie Noonan on bringing ‘Blue: The Songs of Joni Mitchell’ to Geelong

Credit: Cybele Malinowski
Words by Benjamin Lamb

Celebrated Queensland artist Katie Noonan will be presenting Joni Mitchell’s Blue accompanied by guitar virtuoso Ben Hauptmann.

You’d be hard-pressed to find an artist that has had as much influence as Joni Mitchell. Many years after her first release, she’s continued to find new fans in young songwriters, who connect with her unique approach to folk music and great lyrical content. 

Her music still continues to find attention on top 10 lists and countdowns, and Mitchell herself is popping up in a bunch of different areas, recently at the Newport Folk Festival.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

Many artists have paid honour to the starlet with covers, parodies and tribute shows, with Aussie icon Katie Noonan following through with the latter with her show Blue: The Songs of Joni Mitchell which will be making its way to the Geelong Palais Theatre in January 2023. 

We’ve all got that one album that connects to us on another level: We know all the songs, have memorised the lyrics and feel like we can relate to it. That album was a lot of those things for Katie Noonan, who cites Mitchell as a big source of influence.

“She’s an incredible poet. I honestly think if she was a man, she would have been bigger than Bob Dylan,” Noonan says. 


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Her 1971 album Blue has been listed by many publications as one of the greatest albums of all time, the 10-tracker full of moments that are still attention grabbing all these years on. 

“Last year was the 50th anniversary of the album,” Noonan says. “It is an incredible body of work that has been a huge source of inspiration for me as a musician, as a poet, as a songwriter. 

“Just in every way, it’s such a spectacular, well-crafted album with incredible songs.” 

Joni Mitchell has been encountering a bit of resurgence over the last little bit, but after some health scares and cutting down on touring, she’s been back on the touring circuit, bringing new fans into her amazing world of music. She’s recently popped up in a bunch of spots after years out of the limelight, awards shows, festivals and concerts, showing new and young fans just why she is still one of the greatest of all time.

“I really think she’s coming into her golden twilight years,” Noonan adds. 

“It’s great we can celebrate the incredible legacy that she is leaving.”

Noonan notes that Mitchell’s resurgence and new fans all these years on is a lot to do with her music, but a great deal of it regards her as a person and what she stands for.

“I  think she’s just very authentic. There’s no bullshit. She’s just very real and unashamedly vulnerable. 

“And people connect with that. People recognise authenticity, whether it being in instrumental classical music or singer songwriter stuff. They want real stories and sounds.”

There’s something special when it comes to the music of Joni Mitchell, some of her iconic tracks are big singalong numbers, whereas others are intricate, intrinsically emotional numbers. Noonan notes that her show will lean into this idea quite a lot.

While fans are encouraged to sing with Noonan’s versions of Mitchell’s big numbers, there will be moments where it may be a little hard to sing along, so just sit back and immerse yourself in the music.

“I believe that everyone can have a sing, I’m a huge believer in a good old kumbaya sing along. 

“But then there are songs that are very complex and rhythmically strange, so I wouldn’t say they’re all that easy to sing along to. 

“But then some of her more popular songs, for example, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, which is arguably her biggest, most well-known song, we’d love everyone to sing along.”

You’ll be able to catch this gig at Geelong’s Palais Theatre, the recently refurbished venue that will perfectly suit the intricate nature of Noonan’s Joni Mitchell covers. 

“It looks gorgeous. It looks like a gorgeous space, which has been refurbished and brought back to life. It looks like a space that has a very rich history for the community.

“Those beautiful old halls would often have lots of social dances or balls and community gatherings and whatnot. I love playing rooms like that, because they have such an authentic history, steeped in the geography of the community.” 

See Katie Noonan at The Palais Geelong on Saturday, January 7 2023. Purchase tickets here