News & Events

JoniMitchell.com has been bringing you the news on Joni since the day the website went live in 1996. It's all archived and searchable here. In addition to the news, you can find an archive of "upcoming tributes and events" that have been listed on the site as well.

Most recent news

Jerry Lawson, who for four decades was the lead singer of the eclectic cult-favorite a cappella group the Persuasions, has died. He was 75. Lawson died Wednesday at a Phoenix hospice after a long illness, longtime friend and sometime Persuasions producer Rip Rense said.

Lawson's smooth baritone led the group of five and later six singers, who were revered as the "The Kings of a Cappella" by their small but devoted fan base. Through 25 albums the Persuasions recorded rock, blues, gospel and pop songs, all with no sound other than their own voices, long after the doo-wop era and long before the "Pitch Perfect" movies, when a cappella was rare. -Andrew Dalton

The Persuasions accompanied Joni on her 1979 tour, doing an opening set, then being brought back to join Joni on "Why Do Fools Fall in Love" and "Shadows and Light".

In October of 1967, Buffy Sainte Marie urged a young talent scout from the Chartoff-Winkler Agency to come listen to Joni perform at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York City. Smitten immediately with her talent, the young man pitched being Joni's manager. "I don't need a manager, I'm doing quite nicely", Joni replied.

But he was a funny man, Joni enjoyed his humor, and before long he was managing Joni's career. And it was just a few months later, in March of 1968, that Elliot Roberts negotiated Joni's first record contract with Reprise Records.

Elliot managed Joni until 1985, and had just recently begun doing so again. A true legend in the music industry, Roberts also landed a record deal for Neil Young, co-managed CSN&Y, conceived the idea of Tom Petty backing Bob Dylan in the 1980s and helped launch the careers of Tracy Chapman and the Cars.

Born Elliot Rabinowitz on February 25th, 1943, Roberts was raised in the Bronx and initially hoped for a basketball career before turning to music. Elliot died this morning at age 76.

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., known around the world as Dr. John, initially aspired to be a professional songwriter, producer and sideman. He wanted to work behind the scenes, not out front. But after assuming the persona of Dr. John the Night Tripper in the late 1960s, Rebennack was behind the scenes no more.

His idiosyncratic style and sound – the gravelly growl, the sly, deceptively leisurely phrasing, the original hipster patois, the hybrid Big Easy piano – embodied New Orleans and its music. Rebennack, an icon of the city who remained an active creative force until he abruptly disappeared from public view 18 months ago, died Thursday of a heart attack after years of declining health. He was 77. -Keith Spera

Joni and Dr. John appeared on the same stage at the legendary Last Waltz concert in 1976. And, on her 35th birthday Joni attended a Dr. John concert at the Bottom Line in NYC (pictured), in which he sang happy birthday to her from the stage.

play Dr John sings to Joni

Elizabeth “Betsy” Asher, a music industry insider and self-described political news junkie, died Dec. 18, 2018 in Los Angeles. She was 75. She was born April 9, 1943 on Parris Island, SC to Paul Burney Doster and Elizabeth Fredrickson.

Betsy worked in the coffee houses of New York’s Greenwich Village and as a publicist before moving to London. By the time she relocated to L.A., the musicians and songwriters she had known in the Village had become household names in rock music. Journalists and biographers often sought Betsy’s unique perspective on the career arc of some of the most iconic musical artists of the last century.

Betsy is referenced by Joni in Song for Sharon, and perhaps Moon at the Window as well.

A feature-length documentary, Laurel Canyon, is set to premiere later this year. The film, according to a press release, “will pull back the curtain on a mythical world and provide an up-close look at the lives of the musicians who inhabited it.” Alison Ellwood (History of the Eagles) will direct; the film will premiere later this year on EPIX.

Among the artists who will be featured are Joni, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, the Mamas and the Papas, Carole King, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, James Taylor, the Doors, Frank Zappa and more. More information here.

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Upcoming local tributes and events

Know of an upcoming Joni-related event?

Email the information to us and we'll post it here.

Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at Richmond Memorial Library

Join musician Leah Zicari for a free concert dedicated to the music of Joni Mitchell. The impact of music in our lives plays a huge role in "Southernmost."

One character in particular -- Bell -- finds solace in the music of Joni Mitchell, such as the tune with the same title as Mitchell's debut concept album "Song to a Seagull." (This is reflected in the name of the complex of rental cottages owned by Bell.) "All I Want" is a number from Mitchell's fourth studio album released in 1971, "Blue," and House cites the song as central to Bell's character and the album itself as playing a pivotal role in his book. More information here.

Lira Musikmagasin bjuder in till en helkväll med fokus på en av musikens riktigt stora konstnärer. Duon Sofia Mono och Erik Björksten tolkar några av Joni Mitchells starkaste sånger i avskalade arrangemang. Olle Niklasson berättar om bakgrunden till sin 20-sidiga artikel om Joni Mitchell – färsk ur det nysläppta höstnumret av Lira – och tolkar dessutom hennes musik fritt på sopransax och elektronik. Passa på att träffa Liras redaktion och få med dig Liras höstnummer hem!

Dörrarna öppnas: 19.30
På scen: 20.00
Fritt inträde!

Bengans Fik håller extraöppet kvällen till ära. Där kan du köpa t ex lokalproducerat öl, enklare mat eller en riktigt god kopp kaffe. More information here.

On Saturday, October 5, Westchester Collaborative Theater (WCT) will present the music of singer/songwriter giants Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon as performed by world class artists Peter Calo, Carly Simon's guitar player and musical director; singer/songwriter Anne Carpenter; and special guest, Grammy Hall of Fame inductee John Lissauer, on multi-reeds.

Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon created some of the most endearing and lasting music of our time. Carpenter and Calo visit their immense library of music, performing classics as well as deep tracks alike. The intimate and informal evening will be performed in two sets at 7:30 and 9 pm at WCT, 23 Water Street in Ossining. More information here.

Joni's Soul - October 11 8pm at The Bulls Head, 373 Lonsdale Road, Barnes, London SW13 9PY. Tel: 020 8876 5241 £14/£16

Joni's Soul is a collaboration between "from-the-heart" singer Gina Foster and former longtime Van Morrison guitarist Ronnie Johnson, collaborating with some of UK's finest players with a shared love for an artist they consider unquestionably to be one of the greatest singer/songwriters and guitar innovators of the last half century.

Coyote, Hejira, Edith and the Kingpin, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, A Case of You, Trouble Child, Help Me and Gina’s always stunning performance of Both Sides Now - it’s through songs like these that the band explore the unique songwriting and gift of performance Joni Mitchell revealed in her iconic albums Blue, Court and Spark, Hejira, The Hissing of Summer Lawns and beyond …

Drawing on their own emotional response to these songs Joni’s Soul have looked beyond merely the faithful reproduction of the Joni Mitchell songbook to shine a light on the most soulful aspects of her words and music. The band's recently released cd 'Shades Of Joni' illustrates their well-defined, warm interpretations of some of the finest songwriting and performance of the twentieth century.

"A captivating evening of world-class music .... a musical journey of interwoven word plays and melodic sweeps" Get Ready To Rock

Gina Foster (vocals), Ronnie Johnson and Patrick Johnson (guitars), Graham Harvey (keyboards), Steve Pearce (bass), Richard Bailey (drums). More information here.

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