Watch Joni Mitchell Perform ‘Summertime’ at Gershwin Prize Concert
Joni Mitchell was recently feted at an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C. as the recipient of the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. During the concert, which will be broadcast on March 31 on PBS, Mitchell performed a cover of George Gershwin’s “Summertime.”
An array of other artists joined the festivities, including James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, Annie Lennox, Herbie Hancock, Cyndi Lauper, Marcus Mumford, Graham Nash, Diana Krall, Angelique Kidjo, and Ledisi. Lennox showcased a version of Mitchell’s 1966 song “Both Sides Now,” and later joined forces with Carlile, Kidjo, Lauper, Ledisi, and Lucius to play “Big Yellow Taxi.”
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Elsewhere in the concert, Mumford took the stage to perform “Carey,” Lauper performed “Blue,” and Nash offered a rendition of “A Case of You.” The show featured a house band comprised of longtime collaborators and friends of Mitchell, including Greg Phillinganes, Ben Lusher, Greg Leisz, Larry Klein, Brian Blade, Mark Isham, Blake Mills, and Celisse.
The concert stage, as seen in the clips, is adorned with Mitchell’s visual art, including many of her paintings. “I’m a creative person. I like the creative process,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been a painter all my life. I’ve been a musician most of my life. If you can paint with a brush, you can paint with words. It’s a great honor to join the pantheon of recipients.”
The legendary singer-songwriter was announced as the recipient of the Gershwin Prize back in January. “This is a very prestigious award,” Mitchell affirmed when it was revealed. “Thank you for honoring me.”
“Joni Mitchell’s music and artistry have left a distinct impression on American culture and internationally, crossing from folk music with a distinctive voice whose songs will stay with us for the ages,” Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, said in a statement. “Joni Mitchell’s music has so many artists and music lovers all singing her tunes. We are honored to present the Gershwin Prize to this musical genius.”
The Canadian-born Mitchell is only the third artist born outside of the U.S. to receive the Gershwin Prize, following Paul McCartney and Gloria Estefan. She’s also the third female artist to receive the honor, following Estefan and Carole King. Mitchell joins Gershwin Prize recipients like Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Billy Joel, and Lionel Richie.
Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song will air at 9 p.m. ET on March 31, and on PBS.org and the PBS app.
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