Tribute albums are always hard. Hard to know what to think of them, hard to understand the choices of the songs covered, hard to listen to songs you love be butchered. Yet A Tribute To Joni Mitchell is not hard in any of these ways. It is not hard at all; rather it is soft in a way only Joni Mitchell can be.

This tribute album is golden from top to bottom, starting with the big band bang of Sufjan Stevens and ending on the gently smooth voice of James Taylor. In between the two, Bjork lends a trademark voice, Elvis Costello is near the top of his game, Annie Lennox and Sarah McLachlan turn in stellar performances, and Emmylou Harris continues the practice of working slightly outside her comfort zone she began with Bright Eyes on I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.

It is a fitting tribute to Joni Mitchell, her songs being lovingly remade by talents ranging from k. d. lang to Prince. Yet this is not just her works being revisited, Sufjan Stevens popping over in a corduroy jacket to pay his quick respects. These are complete reworking of her songs, but in the only way which would allow them to still be palatable to her true fans. Dated styles might be stripped away, but the soul of Joni Mitchell, what made hers songs truly hers, still remains shining bright beneath. Each one of these artists, in their own ways, take her from what she was in the now back then to what she would have been in the now right now.

It’s a trip that was worth taking and the results are certainly worth listening to.

The CD is available at

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