Songstress Kimberly Ford performs her Tribute to Joni Mitchell in a Four-City, Bay Area Run
Local Performance at
The Reel Fish Shop & Grill, 401 Grove St., Thursday, November 8th.
Showtime: 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $20.00 (advance); $25. (at the door); $40.00, VIP.
Information: (707) 343-0044 or visit http://www.thereelfishshop.com
As her 75th birthday approaches soon, Joni Mitchell seems ubiquitous in the public eye. Consider the following: A two-night, star-studded birthday bash planned at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles; Joni sightings at last summer’s Seal and James Taylor Hollywood Bowl shows (with photos all over Facebook); and, a new biography by author David Yaffe with rave reviews in the New Yorker. Last year, her 1971 masterpiece Blue topped NPR’s 150 Greatest Albums by Women. All this, despite the fact that Mitchell’s last recording was over ten years ago and she hasn’t performed live since a special one-night show in Toronto on her seventieth birthday in 2013.
Ford and her band, Celebration of Joni Mitchell, have earned standing ovations, drawing on a nearly forty-year trove of songwriting gems. The band is coming off several big shows in the last year, including Ventura’s Olivas Adobe Park where septuagenarian women danced in tie-dyed shirts with flowers in their hair. Graying men openly cried when Ford encored with Woodstock. Yes, Mitchell’s music dredges up those emotions more than four decades after she penned the anthem about the gathering at Yasgur’s Farm.
Celebration of Joni Mitchell also features George Friedenthal (Kenny Loggins) on keyboards, piano and melodica; Lee Rollag, guitar and violin (Roger Miller); Tom Buckner, saxophone (Grant Geissman); Tom Etchart, bass (Dianne Reeves); and Charles Levin, drums and percussion (Madeline Eastman).
Other high-profile Celebration of Joni Mitchell shows have included Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz; The Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo; JoniFest in New Orleans; The Gaslight Theater in Oro Valley; Green Valley Performing Arts Center (Tucson, AZ); and a nearly sold-out concert on Joni’s birthday in 2016 at the Lobero Theater, Santa Barbara.
Ford has also toured in the Midwest and Ireland since founding the band more than five years ago.
Joni fans just can’t seem to get enough at these events, singing along on such baby-boomer anthems as Big Yellow Taxi, Both Sides Now and, of course, Woodstock. The band covers a large swath of Mitchell’s repertoire with a focus on her early years through 1980. Other tunes include Free Man in Paris, Court and Spark, Help Me, Conversation, You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio, Blue and River. Critics have taken notice.
“No singer on the West Coast is paying more scrupulous attention to Mitchell’s wondrous book than Santa Barbara’s Kimberly Ford,” writes Andy Gilbert in Santa Cruz’s Good Times. “Possessing a bright and flexible soprano that effortlessly rises into Mitchell’s upper range, Ford has spent the past four years honing a vast array of Mitchell material, from the hits to the misses (as Joni once called her favorite songs that didn’t connect at the time).”
Ford’s passion for music — and all things Joni — began in her native Fresno, where she caroused the city’s burgeoning arts district. She landed in Santa Barbara in the early 1980s and lived briefly in Seattle, where she studied at the Cornish College for the Arts with Jay Clayton. Further studies ensued at the Banff Jazz Institute with Sheila Jordan. Ford eventually returned to Santa Barbara where she honed her skills at local watering holes. Today, she is an internationally-known singer and guitarist with four albums, spanning Jazz to Americana genres. She maintains a robust private teaching practice at her home-based studio and also works as a clinician with the Santa Barbara Vocal Jazz Foundation. Ford is also co-director of the Santa Barbara Jazz Camp and on the vocal faculty of the Northwoods Jazz Camp in Wisconsin.
Mitchell, who suffered a brain aneurysm in early 2015, still ranks as the poet laureate of the 1960s’ singer-songwriters. Spanning three decades, the multiple Grammy winner molded contemporary folk with elements of rock, jazz and world music into a sophisticated and peerless sound. Her body of work is more relevant today than ever. Writing for NPR, music critic Ann Powers said that “after nearly fifty years, Blue remains the clearest and most animated musical map to the new world that women traced, sometimes invisibly, within their daily lives in the aftermath of the Utopian, dream-crushing 1960s.”
Celebration of Joni Mitchell – Live Shows/Special Events Itinerary
- Nov. 4 (Sun.) SOHO RESTAURANT/MUSIC CLUB Santa Barbara, CA
- Nov. 7 (Wed.) YOSHI’S Oakland, CA
- Nov. 8 (Thur.) REEL FISH SHOP & GRILL Sonoma, CA
- Nov. 9 (Fri.) KUUMBWA JAZZ CENTER Santa Cruz, CA
- Nov. 10 (Sat.) THE PALMS Winters, CA
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