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Book Cover for: Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell, Ann Powers

Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell

Ann Powers

*An Observer Best New Biographies of 2024*

Celebrated NPR music critic Ann Powers explores the life and career of Joni Mitchell in a lyrical style as fascinating and ethereal as the songs of the artist herself.

."What you are about to read is not a standard account of the life and work of Joni Mitchell. Instead, it's a tale of long journeying through a life that changed popular music: of a homesick wanderer forging ahead on routes of her own invention, and of me on her trail, heading toward the ringing of her voice."

--From the introduction

For decades, Joni Mitchell's life and music have enraptured listeners. One of the most celebrated artists of her generation, Mitchell has inspired countless musicians--from peers like James Taylor, to inheritors like Prince and Brandi Carlile--and authors, who have dissected her music and her life in their writing. At the same time, Mitchell has always been a force beckoning us still closer, as--with the other arm--she pushes us away. Given this, music critic Ann Powers wondered if there was another way to draw insights from the life of this singular musician who never stops moving, never stops experimenting.

In Traveling, Powers seeks to understand Mitchell through her myriad journeys. Through extensive interviews with Mitchell's peers and deep archival research, she takes readers to rural Canada, mapping the singer's childhood battle with polio. She charts the course of Mitchell's musical evolution, ranging from early folk to jazz fusion to experimentation with pop synthetics. She follows the winding road of Mitchell's collaborations with other greats, and the loves that emerged along the way, all the way through to the remarkable return of Mitchell to music-making after the 2015 aneurysm that nearly took her life.

Along this journey, Powers' wide-ranging musings on the artist's life and career reconsider the biographer's role and the way it twines against the reality of a fan. In doing so, Traveling illustrates the shifting nature of biography, and the ultimate contradiction of celebrity: that an icon cannot truly, completely be known to a fan.

Kaleidoscopic in scope, and intimate in its detail, Traveling is a fresh and fascinating addition to the Joni Mitchell canon, written by a biographer in full command of her gifts who asks as much of herself as of her subject.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Dey Street Books
  • Publish Date: Jun 11st, 2024
  • Pages: 448
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 9.10in - 6.40in - 1.40in - 1.25lb
  • EAN: 9780062463722
  • Categories: MusicGenres & Styles - Folk & TraditionalWomen

About the Author

Powers, Ann: -

ANN POWERS has been a music critic for more than thirty years, working for NPR, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and other publications. In the decade she has worked with NPR, she has written extensively on music and culture and appeared regularly on the All Songs Considered podcast and on news shows including All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Her books include a memoir, Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America; Good Booty: Love and Sex, Black and White, Body and Soul in American Music; and Piece by Piece with Tori Amos. Powers lives in Nashville.

Praise for this book

"A revelatory road trip through the erotic fever dreams of American culture . . . tells the whole epic saga of how music became the confessional where we go to share our deepest secrets and desires . . . Only Ann Powers could make this story so head-spinning--and often heartbreaking." -- Rob Sheffield, author of Dreaming the Beatles, on Good Booty

"With precision and wit, and across multiple musical genres, Powers contextualizes the complicated interplay of gender, sex, and race inherent in popular music within and against the backdrop of America's puritanical founding." -- Library Journal, starred review, on Good Booty

"Informative and entertaining ... Powers reveals an extraordinary breadth of knowledge and insight and has produced an absolutely essential addition to any pop-culture collection." -- Booklist, starred review, on Good Booty

"Both an indispensable guide to American pop music and a damned fine read . . . The best thing about Good Booty is that it reminds us that the right song shows us how to be somebody in a way that's not possible with any other art form." -- Wall Street Journal