For many of us, July 25 began unexpectedly. There, online, was footage of Joni Mitchell singing “The Circle Game”, “A Case Of You”, “Help Me” and “Amelia” among other cherished songs – the previous day at the Newport Folk Festival. Watching Mitchell giving her first full live performance since 2002 proved, it goes without saying, to be a hugely emotional way to pass a Monday morning.
Graeme Thomson had already filed this month’s cover story – about Mitchell’s fecund creative run that followed Blue – when the Newport story broke. Thanks to some impressively swift and assured work, Graeme was able to turn round a coda to his cover story, speaking to musicians who performed alongside Mitchell at this momentous show and the festival organisers themselves. “Our minds were blown,” one musician reveals – which is perhaps the only adequate response to Mitchell’s extraordinary return to the stage.
There’s plenty more inside this month’s issue, of course. A survey of the Small Faces’ greatest songs by Kenny Jones, PP Arnold, Andrew Loog Oldham and sundry other Immediate lags. Tom goes round Brett Anderson’s house to witness the return of Suede – enjoy the soft furnishings – Erin Osmon heads to Kansas City where Bonny Light Horseman are getting back in the saddle (apologies for the numerous bad equine puns around this), Sam hears all about Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin’s rich and deep collaboration of Ali Farka Touré covers, and John assembles former members of The Fall to recall the band’s gloriously idiosyncratic 1982. There’s Kraftwerk, Deniece Williams, Greg Dulli, Dexys and The Byrds, while we have fine new albums in Reviews from James Blount, Makaya McCraven (one of my favourite albums of the year so far), Beth Orton, Al-Qasar and a brilliant piece from John Lewis in our archive section on black British music during the ’60s.
You’ll find some of these folks on our free CD, too, which filters 15 tracks from this month’s new releases for your delectation. Dig in.
And finally, we’re off to End Of The Road at the start of September. As usual, we’ll be hosting on-site Q&As with some of our very favourite artists who are on the bill at this year’s festival. We’ll see you there!
Until next month…