Saturday, July 2, 2011

Reproductions: The Dawntreader

Joni Mitchell: The Dawntreader


This week, we have looked at songs that were reimagined in cover versions. But there are also times when an artist radically reimagines their own song. Perhaps the most remarkable of these is Joni Mitchell. Over the course of her albums Both Sides Now and Travelogue, Mitchell revisited her songbook to create fully orchestrated versions of her songs. This is disconcerting enough when it happens to her later songs, which were at least done originally done with some kind of band. But The Dawntreader comes from Mitchell’s first album, and was originally arranged for just voice and acoustic guitar. Now it has a lush orchestral setting. The original had a stark quality, which is mostly gone, but amazingly enough, the intimacy of the song is preserved in the new version. The original was a dream of love in black and white. Now it’s in full color, but the dream is still very much there, now in rich detail.

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