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Music Critic Ann Powers on ‘Traveling’ on Singer-Songwriter Joni Mitchell’s Path

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Ann Powers' new book is "Travelling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell." (Photo courtesy of Emily April Allen)

When Ann Powers began to draft her expansive new biography of Laurel Canyon music legend Joni Mitchell, she says that “certain subjects emerged: childhood as an imaginary terrain where singer-songwriters could express their ideals and idiosyncrasies; sadness as a complicated form of women’s liberation; side roads and retreats as the secret sources of an artist’s strengths. And traveling, always traveling.” Powers’ book charts Mitchell’s influences, collaborators and milieu, weaving in reflections on the broader politics and trends of each decade during Mitchell’s career. It grapples with the sexism of Laurel Canyon’s heyday and Mitchell being labeled a “confessional” artist, as well as Mitchell’s own complicated relationship with feminism and with being the only woman at the table. We talk to Powers about Joni Mitchell’s life and art and hear how Mitchell has affected you. Powers’ new book is “Traveling: On the Path of Joni Mitchell.”


Ann Powers, music critic and correspondent, NPR


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