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by Shinan Govani
National Post
January 25, 2007

The stars of James Taylor and Joni Mitchell's '70s love story are reuniting onstage in Toronto

When Joni Mitchell and James Taylor share a stage together in Toronto Sunday night at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame gala, as is the plan, it'll be just the latest step in the winding staircase that has been their relationship.

He's slated to serenade the chanteuse with her own song, Woodstock, but he might as well throw in the famous words from her other tune, "I've looked at love from both sides now."

That's because, over 30 years ago, they were sort of like Jay-Z and Beyonce, minus the dancing.

The folkie with the cubist cheekbones and the sad-sack melody man (more yin and yin than yin and yang) were not only on each other's albums in the '70s, they were also on each other! Both part of a seismic, misty moment in music. Both troubadours, both acquaintances of deep melancholy, both intertwined.

"It's hard for me to talk about Joni because I still feel very strongly about her," Taylor told Rolling Stone magazine years ago, at a point when he had moved on, even more famously perhaps, to a marriage with Carly Simon.

"I saw her recently," Taylor went on about the Canadian icon, "and she and I spent a little time talking. Not to get into what our personal relationship was like, but I've never seen anyone create the way she does. An aspect of that leaves another side of her life lacking. She, more than I, I think, has a need for creativity, for her art. More of a need to relieve herself, to satisfy herself, than almost anyone else I've ever met."

Of course, some years later, Taylor's union with Ms. You're So Vain ended too, with no shortage of bitterness, and he went on to marry again. But, Joni's still there. Always has been. Some years ago, he even aped her classic song River on his Christmas album.

And now, in T.O., comes another groovy I-got-your-back.

Besides that tunesmith Taylor, Sunday's great Songwriters gala at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is also expecting the likes of Chaka Kahn, Michael Buble, Isabelle Boulay and Patrick Bruel. Oh, and others. See www.cansong.ca for all the harmonious details!

QUOTE, UNQUOTE:

"I saw her as a monster vampire, someone without a life who feeds off the living. She's a sociopath. I read case studies of functional sociopaths to get a fix on her." -- Up-and-coming Canadian screenwriter Tassie Cameron giving her take on the famously man-eating character Zenia, as played by Mary-Louise Parker, in the latest CBCTV adaptation of Margaret Atwood's bitchiest novel, like, ever: Robber Bride!

QUOTE, UNQUOTE, PART DEUX:

"I don't treat it like Celine Dion because I don't sing like that. I've worked with Celine and she's doing some crazy shit out there. And no wonder she's not talking during the day. If I was out there doing the acrobatic vocal shit she was doing, I wouldn't be talking either, which is too bad because she's really funny. It's a drag that she can't talk during the day." -- Molly Johnson giving Fab magazine some insight into both her famous Toronto voice, and also into the comic genius of that woman who sings about her heart going on!

ALSO, ONE HEARS ?

That Toronto's Deepa Mehta, walking on a cloud wrapped in a sari, was seen at The Drake on Tuesday night. No doubt celebrating the Oscar air-kiss she got just earlier that day for her film Water!

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Added to Library on January 25, 2007. (1050)

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