Joni Mitchell has revealed she’s working on a new live album. During a rare interview with Elton John on his Apple Music 1 show Rocket Hour, the folk legend opened up about her plans to document her surprise set at Newport Folk Festival in July. It was Mitchell’s first show in 22 years and she was joined by Brandi Carlile, Blake Mills, Taylor Goldsmith, Marcus Mumford, Wynonna Judd, and Lucius’ Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig. Her last album of original songs, Shine, came out in 2007.
“[We] didn’t have any [rehearsal],” Mitchell said of the Newport Folk Festival set. When talking about the performance of “Just Like This Train,” during which she played an electric guitar solo, Mitchell said, “I couldn’t sing the key, I’ve become an alto, I’m not a soprano anymore, so I couldn’t sing the song. And I thought people might feel lighted that if I just played the guitar part, but I like the guitar part to that song. So anyway, it was very well received, much to my delight.”
John used part of his interview to urge Mitchell to record a studio album at her house. “One day, I want you to sit in this room like we’re doing now, but with some recording equipment,” he said. “I want you to make an album in this room because it’s so magical. Every corner of this room is Joni. Everything about it is Joni… and I really want you to consider making a record, maybe new songs, the way you are going, you are tearing up the world at the moment.” Mitchell didn’t announce any plans to do so, but she did reveal that she had recorded “some background vocals up in the balcony once.”
Mitchell and John also discussed her recent resurgence, her love of Chuck Berry, and Brandi Carlile’s 2019 concert where she covered Blue in full. “She did such a good job,” said Mitchell. “There have been a lot of covers of my songs, but she’s very true to the original. So it was kind of like going to my own concert.” Watch select clips from the interview below.
Next year, Mitchell will return to the stage in June 2023 for her first headline concert in decades. Carlile said it will take place at Washington’s Gorge Amphitheatre next June and follows private “Joni Jams” that Mitchell has hosted with other musicians for years as part of her recovery from her 2015 brain aneurysm. The aneurysm affected her ability to speak and walk, and she only reappeared three years later at a tribute concert celebrating her 75th birthday. Mitchell has since been honored as MusiCares’ Person of the Year at the Grammys (where she also accepted an award for Best Historical Album), received an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music, and stopped by CBS Mornings to discuss that Newport Folk Festival appearance.