Shadows and Light!


Hey New Year Folks!

Hoping that the holiday season worked well on your disposition. Lots of missing things but still, nice to get some free floating days away from the office. For me, we had a rad fun Christmas livestream and that flowed into many days of taking on little projects, doggie walks, take away veggie food, surf sessions, and future envisioning how the new year might play out. As our favorite Liverpoolian minstrels once proclaimed, it’s getting better all the time.

One of my favorite music listening activities is to “shuffle play” songs from one particular artist. You put aside an hour and you time travel through all of the different sonic vistas that they’ve explored. I do this with Coltrane, Miles, Sonny Rollins, and equally as much with the Beatles, and Stevie Wonder. But an all-time favorite shuffle sesh is to hang with Joni Mitchell and her perfect unique songs.

It was on a Christmas vacation in Michigan City, Indiana back in 1972 that I first heard Joni’s “Blue” record. My two cousins Shelley and Laurie were so taken by Joni’s music that at least a half of what came out of their mouths during that week of vacation were Joni’s songs. They had beautiful voices and the combo of their singing and Joni’s melodies was pure magic. How could someone come up with lyrics like that? How do you make a guitar sound like that? (Later I learned that Joni explored many unique guitar tunings that enabled her sound.) Then my cousins played me Joni’s recording and I immediately became a fan.

Throughout Joni’s career she’s played in the folk style all the way through pop and jazz and has collaborated with a bunch of my favorite jazz avatars — Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Pat Metheny, Charles Mingus, and Mike Brecker to highlight a few. Ask almost any muso about Joni Mitchell and most everyone will tell you they’re taken by her.

We’re absolutely taken by her so we’re pulling together some of our favorite Joni songs and letting the sound time travel begin. 

YouTube Link

To sing Joni’s songs is no easy undertaking (loads of lyrics and cool melody jumps.) We’ve lined up a vocalist who lives and breathes Joni and I think she’ll be a great fit. Pam Pendrell first came into my orbit through Kevyn Lettau, who is Pam’s vocal instructor. Kevyn had high praise for her abilities and vibe and would I be up for producing an album for Pam? After the first listen, “of course, thrilled” and together we made her first CD “Songs That Sing to Me”. On that project one of my favorite moments is her version of Joni’s “Little Green”.

The band includes some of the best with Tripp Sprague on sax, flute and piano; Mack Leighton on bass; Duncan Moore on drums; and Peter Sprague on guitar. Plus a special guest appearance all the way from Copenhagen —Sinne Eeg will sing two jazzified Joni tunes along with us through the magic technology. Sinne’s amazing and a huge Joni fan too!

Price of admission? Actually the concert is free but we will have a “virtual tip jar” complete with PayPal, Zelle and Venmo info for you to donate whatever you feel good about. Also good old snail mailing checks works too. You folks have been super generous with this and it makes us happy.

Venmo: @PeterSprague
mail checks via snail mail to: Peter Sprague
311 East Glaucus St.
Encinitas, CA 92024

Well that’s the word thus far and we’ll see you next week emanating from the great algorithm in sky!

best, Peter