This Album Changed My Life: Joni Mitchell – Blue (1971)

Nandi Rose Plunkett, aka the Massachusetts musician Half Waif, on a folk classic

Nandi Rose Plunkett: “I was in awe of Joni’s masterpiece, an aching journey through mood, built upon cascading melodies.”

Nandi Rose Plunkett: “I was in awe of Joni’s masterpiece, an aching journey through mood, built upon cascading melodies.”

 

Our favourite family activity was to sing together. My dad would lead us on guitar, and all the cousins, aunts and uncles would intertwine their voices to recreate the classics.

The Band, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and my favourite, Joni Mitchell. The Joni song we’d always do was A Case of You. It wasn’t until my early teens that I thought to seek out more of where that came from. Maybe I wasn’t ready for Blue until I knew what to do with it.

I first heard the album right around the time I started calling myself a “songwriter,” a new identity that rolled through me like a wave as I walked the halls of my middle school.

Joni Mitchell - Blue

Aching journey

I was in awe of Joni’s masterpiece, an aching journey through mood, built upon cascading melodies. I later read that David Crosby told Joni to “save some for herself,” referring to the naked emotion displayed on the album.

That it might be revolutionary at the time to be so vulnerable never occurred to me. Emotion was a language I spoke, and hearing Joni wield it so fearlessly opened the door for me to do that in a more public way too.

Half Waif plays Whelan’s Dublin on September 28th.

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