Taking on the music of Joni Mitchell is a daunting task for any musicians. Whether it’s her unusual tunings or her idiosyncratic and yet highly personal lyrics, it’s a big lift. And then, once you’ve actually recorded and released your take on Mitchell’s music, you may have to duck and cover to avoid the reaction of her steadfastly loyal fan base, a group that I’m proud to consider myself a member in good standing.
Sometimes it all works out. Just ask Herbie Hancock who won an “Album of the Year” Grammy for his 2007 album River: The Joni Letters. But more often than not, attempts to cover Mitchell’s music are better off forgotten by all concerned. Hancock was an exception, and now there’s another. On November 10, New York City musician Kevin Jenkins will release an EP called She: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell, produced by TomÃ¡s Doncker and James Dellatcoma for True Groove Records.
Jenkins is a 38-year music veteran who has played gigs at venues like the Budokan in Tokyo, Albert Hall in London, and Madison Square Garden. He has played arenas with big bands, and intimate clubs with smaller groups, gaining acclaim as a singer/songwriter and bassist at every stop on the road. His recording experience includes two previous albums for True Groove, Step Inside and ‘Til the Story’s Told.
The release of She comes at an interesting time given today’s headlines because the EP is nothing less than a man’s perspective on the women’s stories told by one of our greatest songwriters. Jenkins explained his decision to take on the difficult work.
“As a man, I’m always intrigued by the female point-of-view and Joni Mitchell’s take on femininity and womanhood has forever interested and inspired me musically, poetically, intellectually, and emotionally,” he said. “Her artistry speaks to my artistry.”
Popdose is proud to host the exclusive premiere of a track from She: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell. Jenkins has, for the most part, stayed away from the more obvious choices, and that is certainly with the case of the debut single. “Sunny Sunday” first appeared on Mitchell’s 1994 album Turbulent Indigo.
Jenkins will be celebrating the release of She: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell with a performance at the Bitter End in New York City on November 8. For further information please visit the Bitter End’s website. The EP will be available on iTunes and other online music stores, and will stream on Spotify and other platforms.